known as Tony)
Cpl. Frank Lucas during training in Bodmin 1940
Above: Lance Cpl. Lucas F in Palestine 1944
On the farm 1957/8
on 21st November, 1917 in ‘Canning Town’, London. A true
East-ender and a genuine ‘cockney’ He was the son of a shoemaker and learned
the trade as such. One of 8 brothers & sisters and although throughout his
life in Scilly, everyone knew him as Tony, he was actually christened
‘Frank’. Only one brother, Harold remains still alive.
joined the Territorial Army in 1939 and was called up to serve in the ‘Royal
Army Ordinance Corps’ in 1940 aged 23 yrs. He travelled down to Bodmin in
Cornwall to join the Regiment where he trained as a mechanic. He served in the
deserts of Palestine and received a ‘commendation of Service’ from the ‘C
in C’ Desert Forces’, General Paget.
1947 aged 29 he came to Scilly and in early 1948, some 6 months after I was
born, met my mother Melba. He worked
on the Quay as a lorry driver for Harold Solomon, delivering coal. I remember
him coming home at the end of the day black from head to foot. He also drove one
of the quarry lorries for a time. In 1951 the three of us moved to London so
that Dad could get better employment. We ended up living in a flat just down the
road from Dad’s brother, Vic. London was still being rebuilt after the war and
he soon got work, firstly driving refuse from the Tate & Lyle factory to the
local dump, then as a Ready Mixed Concrete driver. In fact it’s a pretty safe
bet that any large building that went up within a 10 mile radius of Canning Town
between 1952 and 1956, Dad would have delivered concrete to it. I spent many
hours driving around London with him and I'm sure it was that which nurtured my
own driving career. For various
reasons in 1957 he brought us back to Scilly and got a job as a labourer on
Mawer’s Farm which included a ‘tied cottage’ at Trewince.. Most of the
time we were all happy in our little cottage, on a Friday evening Dad and I used
to run most of the way to Town to go to Pictures. He was still very fit at 40.
Unfortunately, it was about to change because around 1961 he had an accident at
work and damaged his hip. This led to physical complications and because he
couldn’t work on the farm, we had to move out of our house. Over the next few
years life became very difficult for him as other illnesses started to creep up
on him. From the age of 43 he suffered great physical pain and incapacitation.
Even so, he didn’t give up and managed to get a job on the Council Direct
Labour force as a Painter & Decorator. He seemed to be happy doing that but
by 1980 had to give that up too. From 1961 he endured several operations for
various problems including 2 major hip replacements.
was a great organiser and this showed in the meticulous way he kept his records,
even at the age of 90 his paperwork was painstakingly itemised. He was a great
‘fixer’ and could turn his hand to mending anything from a pocket watch to a
lorry. He made my sister Bonnie a ‘crib’ when she was born and I’ve never
seen a better one in my life. It rocked from side to side when pushed and was
adorned with white satin. It’s a pity there was no such thing as colour
photography in those days. He made my ‘trolley’ for me and mended my bike
whenever it needed fixing, even though he had spent 8/9 hours on the farm during
the day. He used to wear a leather flying jacket which he salvaged from his time
in the army. On Guy Fawkes night when I was a toddler, he would take Mum &
me down to Town beach to watch the fireworks. When I got cold, he would wrap me
in it. All through my childhood I worshipped that jacket and spent hours curled
up on it in front of the fire. One day asked him if I could have it. He told me,
“When you’re big enough to fit it, you can have it!” So every birthday I
would go through the ritual of ‘officially’ trying it on, until one day when
I came home from the Navy he handed it to me and said, “I reckon you’re big
sum up his life I would have to say that he gave a lot of his time helping
others and was always around if you needed him. He was generous to a fault and
could never say, “no” to anyone needing help. He never went into things half
heartedly and put all his energy into the numerous hobbies and interests which
he developed. Photography, Painting, Bird watching, stamp & coin collecting
and boating. When he retired from work he bought himself a speedboat and spent
many happy hours tearing around in it. Although he suffered great pain and
incapacitation, he didn’t give up trying to make the best of things and
grabbing as much from life as he could. He was not for ‘giving up’ and even
2 days after his 90th birthday, rejoiced in the fact that they were
going to fit him up with a ‘pacemaker’.
he was my stepfather, he was the only father I ever knew. I
am proud to call him ‘Dad’ and thankful for that twist of fate that brought
him into my life. He made my life better for having been a part of it and I
shall treasure my memories of him. I know I also speak for my sisters, Yvette,
Bonnie and their children.
Above: Dad pulling one of his famous faces.
click on thumbnail for larger picture.
there is a Heaven, he deserves a place in it.
R. I. P.