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                    Noel Inglis Chalmers Francis Royal Air Force Service 1939-1941

                   Noel is Tony's sisters first husbands father                                                        



                                                                        WW2 War Medal               1939-45 Star with Battle of Britain Clasp (rosette)


1937 - 1938 Noel Inglis Chalmers Francis in the Royal Artillery

Army Service No: 866039         (Royal Artillery)

1938 - 1941 Noel Inglis Chalmers Francis in the RAF

RAF Service No: 40817



10th March 1937 - Attestation in Royal Artillery - Gunner in  153 Battalion 51st Anti Aircraft Brigade Royal Artillery (TA),
51st (London) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery, (TA), formed at the Duke of York's Headquarters,
Chelsea, London with 151st, 152nd and 153rd (London) AA Batteries.
                             It formed part of
26th (London) Air Defence Brigade.

4th April 1938 - 3rd June 1938 - Civil Flying School, Prestwick ( Tiger Moth )

3rd June 1938 -  Discharged from the Royal Artillery on appointment to a Short Service
                              Commission in the Royal Air Force (4 years)

4th June 1938 - Acting Pilot Officer on probation Short Service General Duties Commission for 4 years
                              Short Service Commission extended to 6 years

4th Jun 1938 - No 1 Depot, RAF Uxbridge, Greater London

18th June 1938 - 13th January 1939 -  No 9 Flying Training School, Hullavington ( Training on Harts and Anson )
                                                                  -  Link to article on Flight Global web site:

14th January 1939 - 23rd May 1939 -  School of Naval Cooperation , RAF Ford, Sussex, 17 (T) Group RAF Coastal Command  (Flying Duties)
                                                        -  Probably flying Blackburn Shark aircraft

4th April 1939 - Graded as Pilot Officer on Probation

24th May 1939 - Fleet Air Arm was returned from the RAF 17 Group to Admiralty control -
                             RAF Ford became HMS Peregrine and home for 750,751,752 squadrons of the No 1 Observer School

24th May 1939 - 23rd September 1939 - 752 Naval Air Squadron HMS Peregrine, Royal Naval Air Station, Ford, Sussex
                                                              (on loan to R.N. (Fleet Air Arm))

4th July 1939 - confirmed as Pilot Officer  

24th September 1939 - 23rd October 1939 - 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, RAF Doncaster (12 Group)

23rd October 1939 - 27th January 1940 - 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, RAF Leconfield (13 Group) flying Gauntlet and Battles

3rd October 1939 - London Gazette confirmed as Pilot Officer

October - December 1939 - 616 Squadron Converted to Spitfire Mk 1's

26th November 1939 - While at No.616 Squadron he stood Spitfire K9948 on it's nose while taxiing.

27th January - 31st January 1940 - No 1 Receiving Centre, RAF Uxbridge (in transit for AASF France)

1st February 1940 - 17th May 1940 - HQ Advanced Air Striking Force (Flying Duties) in France
                              - Link to AASF Organisation May 10 1940:

                                    - Link to Air Component Organisation May 10 1940:

It is extremely difficult to determine which squadron P/O Francis served in during his posting to the Advanced Air Striking Force (AASF). By the time of his posting on the 1st February 1940 to France the Air Component part of the British Expeditionary Force had been amalgamated into the AASF (wef 15/01/1940). 
There were 4 fighter squadrons - 2 X Gloster Gladiators (607 and 615)and 2 X Hurricanes (1 and 73) in the AASF.
Taking into account his follow on posting and the timings I would 'guess' that he was part of 607 Squadron flying Gloster Gladiators. As all records for a lot of the squadrons were lost on the German advance we are never likely to know for sure.

18th May 1940 - 20th July 1940 - Sumburgh Fighter Flight

21st June 1940 - Crash landed Gloster Gladiator (N5716) on beach at Haroldswick, Isle of Unst, Shetland

21st July1940 - 22nd March 1941 - No 247 (China-British) Squadron, A Flight, RAF Roborough, Plymouth (10 Group) - formed
                              from the Sumburgh Flight - defending Plymouth Dockyards

August 1940 - Gloster Gladiator Mk II, B/N5585, No.247 Squadron, RAF Roborough,  Plymouth
                           flown by Pilot Officer N. I. C. Francis (decals included in many Model Kits)

 Possible Kill - Gloster Gladiator Mk.II -  Royal Air Force - 247 Sqn. N5585 / B (P/O N.I.C. Francis)
Shot Down He-111, RAF Roborough | August 1940


3rd September 1940 - Promoted to Flying Officer 

31st October 1940 - awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp to the 193945 Star by flying at least one
                                 authorised operational sortie with an
eligible unit of the Royal Air Force or Fleet Air Arm
                                 during the period from 0001 hours on 10 July to 2359 hours 31 October 1940.
                                 (Francis, Noel Inglis Chalmers - Sgt - British - 247 Squadron - KIA 9th December 1941)

12th November 1940 - Gazette - confirmed as Flying Officer

21st November 1940 - Gloster Gladiator II N5649 HP-? 247 Squadron crashed on take-off from St Eval.
                                         It hit a dispersal pen. F/O Noel Inglis Chalmers Francis 40817 was uninjured.

10th February 1941 - 17th February 1941- 247 Squadron at St Eval completed re-equipping with Hawker Hurricane 1's

17th February 1941 - 22nd March 1941 - 247 Squadron,  at RAF Roborough, Plymouth

23rd March 1941 - 3rd May 1941 - Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire
                                                           - Flying Instructors (War) Course No 21

4th May 1941 - Posted to No 5 Service Flying Training School at RAF Ternhill, Shropshire

9th December 1941 - Killed when instructing in a Miles Master III (8578) which crashed in a field at
                                       Doornay (Downay) Farm, Soudley, 1 mile south of Cheswardine, Shropshire 

                                    - (F/O Francis was killed along with pupil pilot, LAC R W Hinde when Master
                                        W8578 crashed 1 miles south of Cheswardine, Shropshire. Struck ground
                                        vertically with engine under power. Spun in, no evidence of defects but
                                        possibly was some aerodynamic or tech defect.
                                        He was an instructor at 5 FTS, Tern Hill)

11th December 1941 - Coroners Court - Died from Compound Fracture of the skull due to Aeroplane
                                         in which he was flying crashing - Accident 

December 1941 - buried in St Peter's churchyard, Stoke upon Tern, Shropshire