Merchant Navy

Keri Oxbrow heard our appeal for Veterans to come forward on Radio Cambridgeshire and contacted us about her Uncle Frank who served during the war as a ship's cook.

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Name:  Frank Fleetwood Court




Died: 1982







Written by Frank's neice, Keri Oxbrow.



Frank Fleetwood Court, to be precise, a wonderful name for a seaman and one that Keri's Grandmother loved! Frank served during the war as a ship’s cook, responsible for obtaining enough rations to keep the crew well fed – not an easy job during war years.


His ship was involved in the Battle of the River Plate. This was the first naval battle in the Second World War and the only episode of the war to take place in South America.


"He was so upset that when he eventually was given a service medal, he threw it in the bin..."


Luckily he survived and came back home after the war to find that it was practically impossible to get a job, as he was not considered a priority not having been a member of His Majesty’s Forces. All this in spite of the fact that he had served on a ship under fire without arms to defend himself, like so many other merchant seamen.


Keri’s Aunt, Frank’s wife, told her that he was so upset that when he eventually was given a service medal he threw it in the bin and never spoke of his experiences again.


Keri’s mother had lots of siblings and several of the boys went to sea and sometimes brought back unusual pets. Uncle Frank once brought home a monkey – an awful creature, wild and dirty, but Frank’s mother indulged the boys so it stayed for a while causing mayhem!


Rather poignantly Frank became unwell while watching The Festival of Remembrance on TV in 1982. He died before the poppies fell.


The picture of a picture that you see above is the only one that Keri has. It was by his wife’s hospital bed at all times and Keri took this picture on a visit just before her Aunt died.


Mrs. Court was extremely proud of her husband and Keri feels sure that she would have approved of him appearing on the Unsung Heroes website.