Francis Harvey was born in Upper Sydenham, Kent, on 29th April 1873, the son of Commander John William Francis Harvey, a Royal Navy officer, and, his wife Elizabeth Edwards Lavington Harvey. In 1884, the family moved to Southsea, Francis attended Portsmouth Grammar School.
Major Harvey was in command of 'Q' turret on board Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty's flagship, HMS Lion. He acted quickly when a shell destroyed the turret and severely wounded him.
As a result of his actions Major Francis John William Harvey, R.M.L.I. was Recommended for a posthumous Victoria Cross, his Citation read as follows:
“Whilst mortally wounded and almost the only survivor after the explosion of an enemy shell in "Q" gunhouse, with great presence of mind and devotion to duty ordered the magazine to be flooded, thereby saving the ship. He died shortly afterwards.”
London Gazette, 15th September 1916