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Old 23 May 2023, 10:02 AM   #1
Gregvan
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Norman Franks, R.I.P.

Very sad news indeed. I just learned from a Facebook post by Andy Saunders, and from an email from Trevor Henshaw, of the passing of Norman Franks on Sunday 21 May at the age of 83. There can be few dedicated WWI aviation enthusiasts who do not know the name Norman Franks, and who don't have some of his many, many books on their shelves. Yes, we can nitpick and point out where some errors have been discovered, but Norman's strong impetus and contributions to the Grub Street series provided the groundwork for so many of us. He got the work done, and published in a form accessible to all. He was such a prolific author, his output amazes me (and not just WWI, of course, but WWII as well). I was privileged to meet Norman in person at an OTF seminar which he attended (along with Russell Guest), and to collaborate on a few books with him. He leaves some giant shoes to fill.

R.I.P., old friend.
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Old 23 May 2023, 10:13 AM   #2
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Nooo !

I had the pleasure to meet this gentleman a few years ago in a C&C conference. One of the greatest WW1 aviation historians, prolific author. I would like to point out that he began his historical work at a time when both the Internet did not exist and access to archives was not a matter of course.

Rest in peace, Monsieur Franks.

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Old 23 May 2023, 10:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregvan View Post
Very sad news indeed. I just learned from a Facebook post by Andy Saunders, and from an email from Trevor Henshaw, of the passing of Norman Franks on Sunday 21 May at the age of 83. There can be few dedicated WWI aviation enthusiasts who do not know the name Norman Franks, and who don't have some of his many, many books on their shelves. Yes, we can nitpick and point out where some errors have been discovered, but Norman's strong impetus and contributions to the Grub Street series provided the groundwork for so many of us. He got the work done, and published in a form accessible to all. He was such a prolific author, his output amazes me (and not just WWI, of course, but WWII as well). I was privileged to meet Norman in person at an OTF seminar which he attended (along with Russell Guest), and to collaborate on a few books with him. He leaves some giant shoes to fill.

R.I.P., old friend.
Gone West... passing the torch on to others...
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Old 23 May 2023, 10:58 AM   #4
Barrett
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Noted to Greg, imagine the Forum Reunion that must be underway far-far above the control level! Dan San, Rick Duiven, Peter Grosz, so many others.

I only met Norman once, at a GW aero conference here in Arizona I'm guessing early-mid 80s when I ran Doug Champlin's museum publishing biz. Everybody wore name tags but most were unknown to me. I overheard someone say, "That Tillman chap seems well informed" (or something.). Norman replied, approximately, "You have no idea!"

A badge of hono(u)r coming from Norman Franks!
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Old 23 May 2023, 01:11 PM   #5
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Post Do old heroes ever die?

.
Sad news indeed!

But inevitable, since there is no immortality for all of us.

Still there is his impressive legacy - I see it every time I look at the shelves of my aviation library.

.
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Old 24 May 2023, 01:11 PM   #6
Graeme
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Sad news, indeed.

Never got to meet him in person, alas, but have several of his books.

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Old 24 May 2023, 01:34 PM   #7
Airshipped
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Thanks Greg for sharing,

I never met him personally but, via Mike O'Connor a good few years' ago, had received a few odds and ends that he'd worked on with Mike. It's the breadth of Franks' engagement with aviation history that amazed me: from the early days of aviation to the more obscure elements of Second World War history.

I think the declassification of documents and the large-scale digitalisation of records has superseded elements of the research he published, but the overall picture remains essentially true for much of what he wrote. Franks' hard graft in the National Archives at Kew gave rise to some excellent Grub Street publications that stand the test of time.

Even if we can dispute certain details, his work went a huge way towards banishing the 'hell in the heavens' semi-fictional knights-of-the-air material that had characterised much of what'd been written about the first air war.

May he rest in peace.
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Old 24 May 2023, 04:57 PM   #8
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A great loss. A void that cannot be filled.

Still, I have many of his books. So I can continue to chat with him every time I re-read one of his wonderful works. I've even been known to have arguments with him.

That's one of the great things about authors. In time they pass, but their work, and therefore their spirit, lives on. They are.... immortal.
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Old 24 May 2023, 11:16 PM   #9
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He will be missed, I also have many of his books alot of time and work went into them.
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Old 25 May 2023, 12:23 AM   #10
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A true great among the airwar historians.
I had very good times working through his many wonderful books.
My deepest sympathy to his family.
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