Francis Daniel

Francis 'Frank' Daniel - 1921-2005

Frank broke with the family tradition of ship building to become a very successful Chemical Engineer by way of Christ's Hospital, Birkbeck and later Imperial College. His war service with the RAF as an Armaments Officer demanded repetitive lecturing. Finding this boring he volunteered for Bomb Disposal, surviving with just one 'mishap'! Post-war his career became the design and fine-tuning of chemical plants, latterly for Shell when he and his family lived in the Netherlands from 1952-1981.

A cousin who gave Frank a box of old envelopes is blamed by the family for alerting him to the delights of postal history. His chosen area of research, WWI Military Censorship, had daunted many enthusiasts and must have been harder when conducted from the Netherlands. However the Peace Palace in The Hague proved an excellent source of information particularly regarding medical units while here, the Imperial War Museum and Public Records Office proved helpful long-term resources. He was also fed copious information by our membership. The sheer size of the project exercised Frank considerably in the choice of recording format and in the final stages involved 'double elephant' size sheets of paper clipped to a drawing board.

In 1981 Frank retired to Crowborough in Sussex where he was welcomed into the local philatelic society and also at Heathfield. He contributed a great deal to both societies and to members appreciation of their own material - 'I may be able to help you a little with that cover..'. In 1984 his magnum opus, 'The Field Censor Systems of the Armies of the British Empire 1914-1918: Unit Allocations' was published by the Forces Postal History Society.

At a personal level, Frank was one of those erudite men who, flatteringly, conversed as if the other party was equally knowledgeable. Frank and the late John Firebrace were inveterate students of military postal history and were lucky to have found each other. They spoke the same language and it was a joy to hear them converse or evaluate a 'find' at Stampex. Frank was very ready to share his knowledge and penned stimulating articles for our Newsletter, two of which inspired me to write up hitherto neglected facets of WWI material. He also maintained a lively and lengthy (!) correspondence.

Frank died on Tuesday 13th December 2005. We remember a kind, modest and generous man; an exemplary member and postal historian who contributed greatly to our enjoyment and knowledge. The Society was represented at the service in Tunbridge Wells on 22nd December 2005 alongside a goodly number of local Philatelic Society members. Our sympathies go to his widow, Dilys and the family.

Martin Lynes

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