Frank Hart 1920-2011 (30-38) Captain of the College in 1937-38
Pat Heery writes: Frank died of pneumonia on 2 May 2011 at the age of 90. Mentally alert to the end, Frank had survived a recent heart attack in good spirits. Two weeks before he died I visited him in the residential home where he was convalescing; typically he insisted that we share a pre-lunch dram of malt whisky – a bottle being kept in the bottom drawer for just such an occasion. (The bottle was only a quarter full – obviously other visitors had been served in the same style).
Frank’s family lived in St Alphonsus’ Parish in the north-end. He and his brother went to St Alphonsus‘ Elementary School where priority was given to the pupils who would be sitting for the Junior City Scholarship. A Mr. Marks drilled the scholarship candidates at the front of the class, while the also-rans sat at the back and were expected to keep quiet
September 1930 Frank started at SFX in Form 2B. (Form 2B was reserved for the Scholarship boys. The fee-payers went into Form 2A . This segregation continued right up to the fifth form, it being thought that parents who were paying through the nose - four guineas a term, if you please – would not be happy with their sons in the B form).
Frank remained till the Sixth Form, leaving in 1938. He left to join the Civil Service, spent the war as a Flight Lieutenant with the Air Ministry in Stroud, Somerset, and returned to the Civil Service after the war, where he remained for the next forty years – retiring as Principal Officer in the Department of Social Services.
One of Frank’s earliest recollections concerned an American Aunt Molly who lived in Detroit. She visited Liverpool when Frank was six and taught him the Charleston. Frank laughed heartily – as he said he always did - at the thought of this little six-year-old shaking his hips around the kitchen-floor. Because one of Aunt Molly’s nearest relatives had died from drinking too much port, she made Frank promise that he would never touch a drop of the stuff. A promise a rather puzzled Frank was able to give without hesitation. In later life Frank never took a glass of port without thinking of Aunt Molly.
(There is a moral in there somewhere)
From his first year at SFX Frank has pleasant memories of maths lessons with Mr Checkland, a kindly teacher (in what was sometimes an overly-strict Jesuit regime). Frank Checkland made five consecutive league appearances for Liverpool at right-half early in the 1921-22 season.
Two other episodes stuck in Frank’s memory:
In 1938 the Sixth Form held a mock election. Frank stood as the Labour candidate. Brian Meehan (32-37) stood for the Liberals. Peter McCarthy, a solicitor in Bath in later life, stood for the Oswald Mosely’s Blackshirts. McCarthy turned up dressed as a Blackshirt and started his speech with a rousing ‘Heil Hitler’. (I wonder what the very liberal head, Fr. Woodlock, presiding thought of that.)
Second, it was the custom for pupils to be chosen to read to the Jesuits from various holy books as they ate their lunch and dinner in silence. Frank was reading on one occasion when Fr. Roberts, later the Archbishop of Bombay, sat at the head of the top table. Whenever Frank’s scouse accent became too strong, Fr. Roberts would stop him and without any comment he would repeat the last sentence in impeccable received English.
Frank’s wife, Audrey, pre-deceased him, as did a daughter. He is survived by a daughter and two sons.
(Since this was written, one of Frank’s civil service colleagues has written an appreciation of his life in The Guardian. You can read it at http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/series/otherlives?page=6