Josiah Francis


Sir Josiah Francis
Josiah Francis 1932 (cropped).jpg
Minister for the Navy
In office
9 July 1954 – 11 July 1955
Prime MinisterRobert Menzies
Preceded byWilliam McMahon
Succeeded byEric Harrison
In office
19 December 1949 – 11 May 1951
Prime MinisterRobert Menzies
Preceded byBill Riordan
Succeeded byPhilip McBride
Minister for the Army
In office
19 December 1949 – 7 November 1955
Prime MinisterRobert Menzies
Preceded byCyril Chambers
Succeeded byEric Harrison
Minister in charge of War Service Homes
In office
6 January 1932 – 9 November 1934
Prime MinisterJoseph Lyons
Preceded by(new office)
Succeeded byHarold Thorby
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Moreton
In office
16 December 1922 – 4 November 1955
Preceded byArnold Wienholt
Succeeded byJames Killen
Personal details
Born(1890-03-28)28 March 1890
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Died22 February 1964(1964-02-22) (aged 73)
Toowong, Queensland, Australia
Political partyNationalist (1922–31)
UAP (1931–45)
Liberal (1945–55)
Spouse(s)Edna Clarke Cribb

Sir Josiah Francis (28 March 1890 – 22 February 1964) was an Australian politician who served in the House of Representatives from 1922 to 1955. He was a minister in the Lyons and Menzies governments, serving as Minister in charge of War Service Homes (1932–34), Minister for the Army (1949–55), and Minister for the Navy (1949–51; 1954–55). He held his defence portfolios during Australia's involvement in the Korean War.

Early life

Francis as a young man

Francis was born on 28 March 1890 in Ipswich, Queensland. He was the son of Ada Florence (née Hooper) and Henry Alfred Francis, his father working as a draper. He was educated at Christian Brothers' College, Ipswich, before joining the Queensland Department of Justice as a clerk in 1908. Francis was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in 1916. He served with the 15th Battalion in France from April 1917 and was wounded in the shoulder in March 1918, rejoining his unit in September after several months in hospital. He was promoted captain in November before being discharged in Australia in September 1919. Francis became prominent in the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia, serving as president of the Ipswich sub-branch and Moreton district division.[1]

Political career

Francis was elected to the Australian House of Representatives from the Brisbane-area seat of Moreton at the 1922 election as a member of the Nationalist Party of Australia. He continued to hold the seat until his retirement in November 1955 as a member of the main centre-right party—Nationalist (1922-1931), UAP (1931-1945) and Liberal (1945-1955). In April 1927, he married Edna Clarke Cribb—they had no children.

Francis towards the end of his career

He was Minister in charge of War Service Homes from 1932 to 1934. He had been a member of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia since 1920 and supported returned servicemen's issues. In 1943, while in opposition, he moved an amendment to allow the payment of full pensions to returned servicemen who were suffering from tuberculosis regardless of whether or not it could be shown to be caused by war service. Unusually in Australia, his amendment was passed without dissent. With the election of the Menzies government at the December 1949 election, he was appointed Minister for the Army and Minister for the Navy. He held the army portfolio until his retirement and the navy portfolio until May 1951; he was also Minister for the Navy from July 1954 until his retirement.[1]

Later life

In 1956, Francis was appointed Australian consul general to New York. He was knighted in 1957 and retired to Brisbane in 1961.[1] In 1962 he represented Australia at Uganda's independence celebrations.[2] He also chaired the fundraising appeal for the Anzac Memorial Chapel at the Royal Military College, Duntroon.[3]

Francis collapsed and died in 1964 while watching a regatta on the Brisbane River at Toowong. He was granted a state funeral which was held at the Albert Street Methodist Church and attended by former prime ministers Arthur Fadden and Frank Forde.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Rees, Jacqueline (1996). "Francis, Sir Josiah (1890–1964)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 28 January 2008 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ "Francis to attend Uganda ceremony". The Canberra Times. 5 September 1962.
  3. ^ a b "Appeal Dear to 'Jos' Francis". The Canberra Times. 24 February 1964.

External links

Political offices
New title Minister in charge of War Service Homes
Succeeded by
Harold Thorby
Preceded by
Cyril Chambers
Minister for the Army
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Preceded by
Bill Riordan
Minister for the Navy
Succeeded by
Philip McBride
Preceded by
William McMahon
Minister for the Navy
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Arnold Wienholt
Member for Moreton
Succeeded by
James Killen
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Edward Smart
Australian Consul General in New York
Succeeded by
Roden Cutler