Second Lieutenant Francis George Wake Merchant

Killed in Action

Second Lieutenant Francis George Wake Marchant served with the 3rd Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps and was the only son of Frank and Torfrida Marchant, of Woodside, Keston (Hayes), Kent.

Born in London on the 4th March 1897, he was educated at Ludgrove and Eton.

Having proceeded to Sandhurst in May, 1915, Francis obtained a commission in the Royal West Kent Regiment on 19th October, 1915 and immediately volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps.  After 5 months training went overseas on March 30th, 1916 and joined his fighting squad on May 6th. Actively engaged, completing 300 hours in the air within the year.

Sadly he was not to survive the war and was killed in action on the 22nd October 1916, at only 19 years of age.

The Bromley & District Times newspaper reported his death on the 10th November 1916.

“Second-Lieutenant F G S Marchant of Hayes was killed instantaneously, while flying at 8,000 ft, by a shrapnel bullet in his head. His machine fell just inside the lines and that evening some Australian troops, with great gallantry, went out and took his body back. His body was not disfigured in the slightest”.

He was buried on the 26th October 1916 at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe, a small village close to his aerodrome.

Portrait of soldier Francis George Wake Marchant

Bromley & District Times, 10th November 1916 (page 9)

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