Died 4 July 1943
At 23.10 hours a Stirling bomber took off from Chedburgh, six miles south of Bury St.Edmunds, on a 'Gardening' (an R.A.F. term for minelaying) mission in the 'Nectarines' area of the North Sea. Sergeant Francis Pilkington was one of the seven crew. Nothing was ever heard of the aircraft or crew. However, at 02.20 hours that night, Hauptmann Franz Buschmann, the pilot of a German nightfighter, submitted a claim for a Stirling bomber shot down in the area that had been assignee to Francis' aircraft.
Francis was the son of Elliot and Helen Pilkington of Helmshore, and the husband of Ruth, of Moss, Wrexham. He was aged 39.
Francis and his fellow crew-members are named on the Runnymede Memorial. This Air Forces Memorial overlooks the River Thames at Englefield Green, between Windsor and Egham, Surrey, some four miles from Windsor. The Memorial commemorates by name over 20,000 airmen who were lost in the 1939-1945 War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and northwest Europe and have no known grave. Francis is named on Panel 161.