Former Players Stories
Alf Francis 1965 - 1975
By RMFA Historian Shaun Foster
Alf Francis joined the Corps in 1965, among other people in his squad 826 that went on to represent the RMFA were Archie Houston, Terry Rose & Jan Palmer. On completion of training he was drafted to 45Cdo RM in Aden, He did not get much of a chance to play out there but some of the better players out there at the time were Ollie Oliphant, Dusty Miller, Johnny Bickford & Noddy Dunn.
Alf came back to 41Cdo RM Bickleigh in 1967 and he had the privilege to play with most of the legends seen in the RMFA Gallery website. A couple of big influences on Alf were Davy Hunt & Richie Wassel. Alf went on to win the Devon Wednesday League & the Senior Cup 1967/68 under Sgt Scouse Kennedy. He also represented Plymouth Command & then went to 45Cdo RM at Stonehouse Barracks and played alongside the likes of Bob Fardoe, Roger Prescott, Mick Howie, Jackie Freeman, Ray Johnston, Tug Wilson, Nobby Clark, Nicky Jennings & a host more.
Alf then went on to 40Cdo RM in Singapore were he won the 40Cdo RM 6 a-side trophy followed by the big two, The Navy’s China Shield & the Army’s Robinson Cup (has that ever been achieved before ?).
40Cdo RM were a formidable team during the time throughout the Far East and Alf played with some talented guy’s none more so than his mentor Curly Barlow with whom he learnt so much off, he also played with the likes of Mick Woods (Sniffer) scored goals for fun, Buck Taylor, big Terry Harrison (Twinkle Toes), Dave O’Leary & Thommo who came back from a bad injury.
They beat the Singapore under 21 team 3-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium Singapore and got beat against Hong Rangers in Kowloon 3-1 (Hong Kong Rangers had 8 Scotchman from the Scottish First & Second Division playing for them, they were on some kind of Jolly). They also toured Nairobi were they played against the Kenyan Air Force twice.
Alf returned to Plymouth with 40Cdo RM and had the honour of captaining the team. During this time he played several games for the Corps and was then drafted to RM Poole were he reached the Navy Cup regional final in 1973 against HMS Blake and won the Marriott cup in 1974. That same year he won the Inter Commands when the RM team beat Portsmouth 2-1 with Mick Woods & Pete Hobbs scoring the goals, other players there then under the guidance of CSgt John King included Pete Best, Alex Scott, Tony Higgins, Jackie Freeman & Dave O’Leary.
He decided to get on the coaching ladder and enrolled onto a RNFA coaching course with Mick Woods at RMB Eastney under tutors John Ellis & Derek Godwin.
Alf left the Corps in 1974/75 and after a while he rejoined an Army Recce Regt TA and finished up a staff PTI after 12 more years. He now lives in Wigan.
40 COMMANDO RM 1971 CHINA SHIELD & ROBINSON CUP WINNERS
Mne D Coles, Mne A Francis, Mne M O’Leary, LCpl T Spencer, Sgt D Barlow, Mne J Thompson, LCpl G Moreton, Cpl B Taylor, Mne M Woods, Sgt T Harrison, Mne D Gibbs
This is dedicated to an old buddy of Alf’s who is no longer counting
CHRIS DUNSWORTH SBS
Who in Alf’s opinion and a lot of others was an outstanding Football Player.