Francis was educated at St Bartholomew's Hospital - entering as a student in 1893, he qualified M.R.C.S. (Eng), L.R.C.P. (Lond) in 1899.
He gained a commission within the Medical Services at the rank of Lieutenant on 17th November 1899, then served in South Africa from 1899-1902 - being present at the relief of Lady-smith, the battle of Spion Kop, as well as other actions. On the 17th November 1902, he was promoted to Captain and served in India until 1905. Francis went to Jamaica from 1908-1912 - during which time he was promoted again to the rank of Major on 17th August 1911. He was stationed at Queenstown at the outbreak of war. Francis entered the war in France on 20th August 1914. He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs Edward Richards of Amos Vale, Rostrevor, Co. Down; and the husband of Florence Agnes Richards (nee Dawson) of 21 Spencer Hill, Wimbledon.