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Latham, Francis - DSO*

Rank : Brigadier

Unit : 2nd Bn, 11th Bn, 1st Bn, Depot

Biography :

Educated at Tonbridge School, Francis Latham joined 4th Militia Bn The Yorkshire Regiment in 1901, and served in South Africa in 1902, being awarded the Queen's Medal with two clasps. He transferred to The West India Regiment on 27.1.1904, in which he was promoted Lt on 19.1.1906, and served in Sierra Leone and Jamaica. On that Regiment's reduction in size he transferred to The Leicestershire Regiment on 16.2.1907, and was posted to 2nd Bn in India. Promoted Captain on 8.3.1913, he was Adjutant at the outbreak of war, arriving in France with the Bn in October 1914. He was severely wounded near Richebourg on 16.6.1915, shot through the heart, and was one of the three similar cases to recover from such a wound in that war. He was awarded the D.S.O. (L.G. 14.1.1916). On returning to France he was Adjutant of 11th Pioneer Bn of the Regiment for a few weeks until appointed CO 9th Bn The Suffolk Regiment, commanding it at the Battle of Cambrai on 20.11.1917, and remained in command till Jan 1918 when on 26.1.1918 he transferred to command 1st Leicesters in the same Brigade. Brevet Major 1.1.1918. In April 1918 the Bn was involved in heavy fighting in the area of Neuve Eglise and Mount Kemmel in Flanders, and he was wounded again on 29.4.1918. He was awarded Bar to DSO (L.G. 16.9.1918). He later commanded 1st Bn 26.7.1918-2.11.1918, and 12.11.1918-3.8.1919. His other awards were Mention in Despatches five times, and Officier de la Couronne avec palme (Belgium) (L.G. 5.4.1919), and Croix de Guerre (Belgium).
After the war he served with the 1st Bn in Athlone (1919-22), Aldershot, then Egypt (Ismailia and Alexandria (1926-28) and in India (1928-35). This was interspersed by his appointment as CO Depot 1922-24, during which period the splendid cricket and recreation ground at Glen Parva Barracks was created and finished. Promoted Major 31.12.1931. He commanded 1st Bn in India 3.8.1931-3.8.1935. On return to Home Service he assumed command of 165th (Liverpool) Brigade TA in Oct 1935 (awarded the Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 and the Coronation Medal 1937). He retired on 2.10.1939, but was retained in post until 1940. In the Second World War he was a Sub-Area Commander in Wales 1940-43. In 1944 he later commanded a Home Guard Battalion in the Midlands.
Dating from his time as CO Depot, he took a great interest in the Old Comrades Association (now The Royal Tigers' Association), of which he was a Vice-President from 1940 and a Trustee from 1947. He was also President of the Officers' Dinner Club from 1940-47. In 1946 he became Chairman of the Tonbridge Branch of The British Legion. He died at the Depot Officers' Mess during Royal Tigers' Weekend, 28.6.1958, aged 74 years.

Date of Birth : 25.8.1883

Place of Birth : Woolwich, Kent

Date of Death : 28.6.1958

Place of Death : South Wigston, Leicestershire

Period of Service : 1901-44

Conflicts : WW1, WW2

Places Served : South Africa, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, India, France and Flanders, Ireland, Egypt, UK

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