CWG: Lance Corporal Francis Hawkins

Lance Corporal Francis Hawkins

Francis Moreton Hawkins was born in Cottingham, Northamptonshire on 15th July 1895. He was the eldest of eight children to Francis and Louisa Hawkins. Francis Sr was a butcher and, by 1905, he had moved the family to Taunton, where he set up a ship on the main shopping street in the town.

When Francis left school, he became a clerk for the business; he went on to take civil service exams, gaining employment in the General Post Office and then Customs & Excise. War was looming, however, taking him in a different direction.

Sadly, a lot of Francis’ military records no longer exist. What the records do tell us, though, is that he initially enrolled with the Somerset Territorials in October 1914, transferring first to the Civil Service Rifles and then the Rifle Brigade. He served his term in the army, rising to the rank of Lance Corporal.

When the war came to a close, Lance Corporal Hawkins was placed on furlough while he waited to be demobbed, and returned home on 19th November 1918. Feeling unwell, he took straight to his bed, and, three days later, was admitted to the Military Hospital in Taunton with influenza and pneumonia.

Tragically, these were to get the better of him; Francis passed away at the hospital on 23rd November 1918. He was just 23 years old.

Francis Moreton Hawkins lies at rest in St Mary’s Cemetery in his home town of Taunton.

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