Vale Frank Frost
Frank joined the Wessex Cave Club in January 1935 and although not a founder member he was soon to play an active role. He joined the committee in 1936 and the never looked back. He was elected Hon Secretary in 1940; a position of power which included vetting new members and editing a newsletter-cum-journal.
Frank ruled the Wessex Cave Club like a dictator for over 30 years and such was the animosity he aroused that every weekend the Hunters Lodge Inn would ring with the cry “Frank Frost knows my father, father knows Frank Frost!” punctuated by the comment “Yes, as a matter of fact he does”, As the evening wore on the refrain would revert to, “Frank Frost is a bastard, a bastard is Frank Frost.” Such was Frank’s reputation that this chorus was echoed by the potholers in the north of England to the shepherds in the Pyrenees.
Many legends have grown up about Frank Frost and few can be repeated here. One which can be repeated concerns the illegitimate offspring of the Wessex, the Bristol Exploration Club. It appears that in the 1940’s a caver knocked on the Hon Sec’s door asking about membership. He had come straight from work and was still wearing a boiler suit. The Hon Sec looked at him and replied that we do not have your sort here.” So the caver went off and formed the BEC.
Such was Frank’s reputation – Absolute power corrupts: Power corrupts absolutely – that during his reign as Hon Sec of the WCC he antagonised numerous cavers all over England quite needlessly. It was only by chance in 1961 that the membership managed to overthrow him. First the editorship was given to another member, then an independent auditor was found for club elections. A new position of Hut Booking Officer was made and finally in December 1961 Frank was elected President – a figurehead position with no power, This office was held, without further upset, for 20 years until his death in 1981.
Reprinted with kind permission from The British Caver Vol 82, 1981.