The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Downes, Major-General Major Francis
Downes, Major-General Major Francis, C.M.G., Commandant South Australian Forces, is the son of the late William Downes, of Dedham, Essex, and was born on Feb. 10th, 1834. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; entered the Royal Artillery in 1852, became lieut.-colonel in 1877, colonel in 1882, and major-general (retired) in 1884. He served in the Crimean Campaign 1855 (medal with clasps and Turkish medal); was Instructor in Fortifications at the Royal Military College in 1858-9; commanded Royal Artillery at Mauritius in 1863-5, and at St. Helena in 1869-71; was for five years Instructor to the Artillery School for Militia and Volunteer Officers; and subsequently held the position of Commandant of the South Australian Military Forces from 1877 to 1885, being a Member of the Royal Commission on Defences in 1881, and Secretary of Defence for Victoria from 1885 to 1888. In March of the latter year, he was reappointed Commandant of the South Australian Military Forces. He married, in 1858, Helen, daughter of the late B. Chamberlin, of Catton, Norwich. Major-General Downes was created C.M.G. in 1885.