Frank was born on 17 February, 1916 in Trelewis, Glamorganshire, a small mining village about 30 km north of Cardiff. He gained his School Certificate in 1931, the Higher School Certificate in 1933, the Higher National Certificate in 1942, a B.Sc. Degree (London) in 1943, and his M.Sc. (London) in 1945. On leaving school he got a job as an apprentice in the Research Department Laboratory of the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company. That laboratory was engaged in many aspects of research including coal preparation and uses for by-products from their coke ovens plant.
During the war years Frank became chemist, then Chief Chemist, on a plant making a smokeless fuel for domestic use called “Phurnacite”. After the war, between 1945 and 1947, Frank was co-opted to the Control Commission for Germany, serving in the Coke Department of the North German Coal Control. The work was to re-apply some sort of system to the much battered coke oven industry, largely in the Ruhr district.
Back in the UK, he worked with the NCB until, in 1949, he was appointed as the Deputy Area Chief Scientist in the NCB No. 4 Area laboratory, at a place called Mountain Ash. Apart from coal analysis, and quality control for 10 washeries, the work included the analyses of mine airs, airborne dusts and roadway dusts.
In 1959, having organised the NCB laboratories to his satisfaction, Frank moved to Australia with his wife Lola, where Frank took a position with ACAR (later ACIRL) as District Chief Scientist at Maitland. Frank then moved to the North Ryde lasboratory where he assumed the position of Deputy Director of Research, when Arthur Hams was appointed Director in November, 1960. Frank modestly states that “It was under A. H. Hams that the company grew spectacularly. Wider fields of research were undertaken and considerably higher and more advanced facilities and standards were obtained and applied.” Frank held this position until 1981 when, in his own words, he retired “with great relief”.
One of the Senior Chemists who served under Frank offers these words on his ACIRL period: “Those of us who worked with Frank know that his achievements were significant, even if done without fuss or favour, and always with his characteristic, wry Welsh wit. The spectacular growth to which he refers must in considerable measure be attributed to his input – for his organisation of the laboratories group, his part in defining and managing the research projects, and his work for Standards Australia. Arthur Hams had an exceedingly capable and supportive adjutant indeed. Although Frank’s contribution to the growth of ACIRL may not be detailed in the written record, his unique and enduring presence is well recorded in the memories of all those of us who were fortunate enough to have worked with Frank in that time.”
Frank has held memberships with the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Institute of Fuel, the Coke Oven Managers’ Association (of the UK) – for more than 50\ years – and was a founding member of the Coal Preparation Society. As well as being a member of the founding committee, Frank made an outstanding contribution to the NSW Coal Preparation Society. He was Treasurer for 9 years and Chairman for 2 years. As well he was a member of the organising committees, and Treasurer, for the 1976 International Coal Preparation Congress (Sydney) and the First Australian Coal Preparation Conference (1981, Newcastle). Frank was a lecturer at many Society Courses and undertook the task of drafting the first Society textbook, namely “An Introduction to Coal Preparation” (published 1985, reprinted 1992).