Topic: William John Francis (1888-1916)

Topic type:

William John Francis was from Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland. He was working as an engineer at Omokoroa near Tauranga when he enlisted in World War I. William was wounded during the Battle of the Somme in France, dying of his wounds on 17 September 1916. Story by Debbie McCauley.

William John Francis was born at Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland on 19 October 1888. His parents were George Washington Francis and Mary Jane Gourley [or Adelaide McClune?] who married at the Presbyterian Church in Warrenpoint on 18 December 1871.

George had lived at Banbridge in County Down prior to moving to Warrenpoint. On 1 May 1883 he joined the St John’s Lodge in Warrenpoint. George died in Warrenpoint on 12 January 1900.

William married Armelle Mary ? on 4 June 1910 at St Paul’s in Canterbury, England. They later lived at 'Villa Cintra,' Tor Church Road at Torquay in Devon, England.

William and Armelle’s son, Edward Arthur Francis, was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 19 July 1912.

It is not yet known when William arrived in New Zealand, but he was working as an engineer at Omokoroa, near Tauranga on 21 August 1915 when he enlisted to serve during World War I (Service No. 8/3260). William served with the Otago Infantry Battalion.

On 1 January 1916 William was admitted to hospital suffering from measles.

Later that year, on 16 September 1916 he was admitted to hospital with shell shock.

William was wounded during the Battle of the Somme which took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 near the River Somme in France

Private William John Francis died of his wounds at the 45th Casualty Clearing Station in France on 17 September 1916, aged 27. He was buried in the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension in Somme, France.

William John Francis (1888-1916)


Archives New Zealand: Military Personnel File.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).


A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

William John Francis (1888-1916)

Note:Service Number: 8/3260
First Names:William John
Last Name:Francis
Date of Birth:19 October 1888
Place of Birth:Warrenpoint, County Down
Country of birth:Northern Ireland
Date of death:17 September 1916
Place of death:Somme, France
Place of burial:Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France
Spouses name:Armelle Mary
Date of marriage:4 June 1910
Place of marriage:Canterbury, England
Fathers name:George Washington Francis
Fathers date of birth:1835
Fathers place of birth:Warrenpoint, County Down, Northern Ireland
Fathers date of death:12 January 1900
Fathers place of death:Warrenpoint, County Down, Northern Ireland
Mothers name:Mary Jane Gourley
Name of the children:Edward Arthur Francis
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)