FRANCIS, Michael James

Colour Sergeant
Royal Marines
Royal Navy
Colour Sergeant Michael Francis joined the Royal Marines in January 1963 and after basic training he served in both 45 and 43 Commando. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his gallantry during operations on the Falkland Islands.
Colour Sergeant Francis, coxswain of LCU Fl, was working in the vicinity of HMS Antelope when her unexploded bomb detonated, resulting in an immediate fire which caused her crew, already at emergency stations, to be ordered to abandon ship. Colour Sergeant Francis took his craft in to help with the close range firefighting before being ordered to withdraw because of the considerable danger to his craft. In a later incident on 8th June he put his craft alongside RFA Sir Galahad to start offloading troops to Fitzroy. Whilst alongside there was a sudden and completely unexpected bombing raid on the vessel and her sister ship RFA Sir Tristram by four enemy aircraft. RFA Sir Galahad was hit centrally, immediately bursting into flames and billowing black smoke. One bomb fell within 10 feet of LCU Fl. Despite the possibility of a second raid (which developed later), Colour Sergeant Francis stayed alongside and took off a craft load of about 100 survivors, including many very badly wounded. After landing this load Colour Sergeant Francis returned to the area of RFA Sir Galahad, by now an inferno, took off the few remaining survivors, helped RFA Sir Galahd's life rafts into the shore, and then checked the rest of the area and other life rafts for further survivors. These are two separate actions of calm and selfless bravery, one in the presence of the enemy.
London Gazette 49134, page 12839.

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