BENJAMIN GORDON FRANCIS
SERVICE NO: 6079
UNITS SERVED: 17th Reinforcement of the 27th Battalion
PERSONAL DETAILS: Benjamin Gordon Francis, a dairy farmer from Murray Bridge, was the son of Lillian and Benjamin Francis.
ENLISTMENT DETAILS: Benjamin Enlisted on the 21st of September 1916, at age 24 in Adelaide. Benjamin became a part of the 17th reinforcement of the 27th Infantry Battalion.
DETAILS ABOUT ROLE IN WAR: Embarking on the HMS ‘Afric’ on the 6th of November 1916. Benjamin arrived in Plymouth England on the 9th of January 1917, he marched in to the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone on the same date, where he remained until he proceeded overseas to France from Folkestone on the 5th April 1917. He was admitted to the 2nd Australian Base Depot at Etaples on the 8th April 1917 and then taken on strength with the 27th Battalion on the 9th April.
He was admitted sick to the 56th Casualty Clearing Station in France on the 7th June 1917 with Pyrexia of Unknown Origin. He was discharged to rejoin his unit on the 23rd of June but was admitted to the 29th CCS on the 24th of July again suffering from PUO. He was admitted to the 1st General Hospital at Etretat on the 2nd August 1917 and then transferred via the Hospital Ship ”Grantully Castle” back to England and was admitted to Tooting Military Hospital and was diagnosed with Trench Fever. Apart from some furlough between 20th August and 3rd September 1917 he was either in hospital or convalescent depots until he once again proceeded overseas to the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Havre on the 27th December 1917.
He proceeded to join his unit on the 31st December 1917 and rejoined the 27th Battalion on 5th January 1918 in Belgium. He was killed in action on the 8th January 1918
From the War Diary of the 27th Battalion 6.30am 8th January to 6.30am 9th January 1918:
The situation was normal throughout the day. Our heavies directed 100 rounds of 9.2” shells into a target in Doulmont with apparently good results. None of our planes were seen in our immediate front. The day was cold with several heavy falls of snow which have made observation impossible while they lasted. While the heavies were firing in the afternoon the snow stopped falling and observation was good.
A patrol of 1 Sgt. and 5 men (scouts) went out with a Lewis Gun from No. 5 post and discovered an enemy M.G. position. Rifle grenades were obtained and a number dropped around the gun; the enemy sent up flares which were repeated in rear and almost at once the enemy artillery opened on our Support Line and just in rear of our Outpost Line. No casualties occurred and the patrol returned in safety to our lines. The enemy’s artillery was more active than usual during the night, and appeared to be restive after the bombing incident by the Scout patrol. Minnenwerfers were active throughout the night and a liaison patrol returning from a visit from the Battalion on our right were all killed, 3 in number, apparently from one shell.
The usual relief on the left front took place ‘A’ Coy going into the front line and ‘D’ Coy coming back into Support. Casualties:3 killed – Cpl. Harry, Pte Allen, Pte Francis when on a liaison patrol with the Battalion on our right.
AGE AT DEATH: 25
MEMORIAL DETAILS: Prowse Point Military Cemetery, III.C.1