Francis was 24 when he enlisted 21 September 1915, and gave as his occupation Company Secretary.
He was sick when he disembarked at Plymouth 13 October, 1916 and spent a month in hospital before making it back to his battalion. By December he was attending the Cadet Officers School at Trinity College and he was appointed to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in May 1917.Francis was killed in action at Passchendaele, Belgium on 9 October, 1917 and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres. Although his mother was Nell Mary Louise Gillespie, of 20 Newcastle Street, Rose Bay he appears to have been the son of a former marriage to Mr F Bennett who once taught at King’s School and had died by the outbreak of World War One. He was also the brother of a local movie actress, Miss Enid Bennett, and his war record states that his next of kin address changed from Rose Bay to Crescent Drive in Beverley Hills, California during the war. All of which suggests his sister had some success in her career.
Research and Collection Services, City of Parramatta, Heritage Centre, 2017
The biographical information has been researched and compiled from the following resources:
- Australian War Memorial – https://www.awm.gov.au/
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – http://www.cwgc.org/
- National Archives of Australia – http://www.naa.gov.au/
- National Library of Australia Trove Digitised Newspapers Database – http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper
- Parramatta and District soldiers who fought in the great war, 1914-1919. (1920). Parramatta, N.S.W. : The Cumberland Argus Ltd. – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9iAn5sxT0i8ZHgyZjR2UHRxVUU/edit
- The National Archives (UK) – http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
- University of New South Wales Canberra The AIF Project – https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/index.html