Meet the Relative – Frank Toms

Frank was my dad’s cousin – the older son of my great aunt who was always known as Aunt Nellie. His father was also called Frank Toms. Frank was aged 13 when dad was born but they always seemed to get on well.

Frank was born on 12th August 1906. He was born and raised in Firle in Sussex and essentially lived there all his life. He died back in 1971.

We saw pictures of a very young Frank on the page about Aunt Nellie.

So let’s start with Frank in 1918 – a photo ‘celebrating’ World War One.


Soon after, Frank would have started work. He worked on the estate at Firle, becoming some kind of mechanic or engineer. He was always keen on motorbikes.


That’s my dad and his little sister on their cousin Frank’s Royal Ruby motorbike. That would have been about 1924.

Frank married May Packham in 1934.


That’s them looking very debonair.

Frank and May had three sons but May died in the very early 1950s so Aunt Nellie had to step in as a surrogate mother.

In my memory, in the 50s and 60s, Frank had a wonderful early 1930s Morris 8 car. I really coveted that. Frank also still had old motorbikes in the shed. Of course, I don’t have photos, which is a real shame.

When Frank died, my family connection with Firle came to an end.

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