Francis was born in 1889 in Shifnal, Shropshire, the son of Joseph King and Annie P. Thorns. By 1891, the family had moved to 8 Caton Mews South, St George’s Hannover Square, London. I have not been able to find him on either the 1901 or 1911 censuses. He became “a violinist of great promise” and was a member of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra in London. He was also a Licentiate and Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. In September 1913, he was appointed as music master of Tettenhall College.
He became a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, first serving in France from 26 May 1916. However, he had only been at the front for a matter of days when he was mortally wounded in Flanders, dying on 31 May 1916. The value of his effects were £341 14s. 6d. This was reported in the Express & Star on 7 June 1916. He is buried in the Noeux-les-Mines communal Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.
He is commemorated on the First World War memorial in the entrance hall of the Royal Academy of Music in London. Thorns was a competent violinist and composer, and his music medals presented by the Royal Academy of Music have survived in a private collection.