Douglas John Francis was the son of an Essex police officer and spent his early years in Theydon Bois and East Hanningfield. During the war he served in the R.A.F. and was killed in August 1944 while serving in Italy.
Douglas was born in the Epping registration district in 1921, the son of the police officer Henry John Francis (1888-1966), and Emily Francis (nee Gayfer) (1888-1974). Douglas' parents had married in the Baptist Chapel, Stoke Ash, Suffolk on 9th September 1912. At the time Douglas' father was living and stationed in Epping.
Douglas' siblings included Henry D. Francis (1913-1913), Henry R. Francis (1914-1914), Winifred Emily Francis (born in 1916), Henry G. Francis (born in 1919), and Basil E. Francis (born in 1923).
Douglas John FRANCIS, Sergeant, 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Killed in the Mediterranean. Aged 22
Douglas' father served as a police constable with Essex County Constabulary from 1st September 1909 until 19th October 1935, interrupted by 79 days in the army in late 1918 and early 1919.
At the time of Douglas' birth he was stationed at Theydon Bois where he remained until October 1928 when he took his final posting to East Hanningfield.
During the Second World War Douglas served as Sergeant 1586122 in 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He lost his life, aged 22, on 19th August 1944. At that time 40 Squadron was based at Foggia Main in Italy.
Douglas has no known grave and is commemorated by the Malta Memorial. He was commemorated on the war memorial in Baddow Road Congregational Church, Chelmsford (now demolished).