Francis Alexander Noble, or Frank as he much preferred to be called, was born on July 7th 1916 at the beginning of the Battle of The Somme. His parents lived in Formby and he retained his links to this neighbourhood all his life. He attended Formby College and then Crosby Preparatory School entering Merchant Taylors’ School in September 1925. He won his form prize in 1929, rose to the rank of Sargent in the Cadet Corps and obtained the Oxford and Cambridge School Certificate before leaving school in 1932.
From 1934-39 Frank worked for the Inland Revenue and became a Senior Tax Officer. With the onset of World War 2, during 1939-40 he was recruited to be a driver with the West Lancs RASC, a TA regiment. In 1940 he was commissioned in the King’s Regiment where he served till 1946 rising to the rank of Captain. In 1942-43 he was on the staff of the Isle of Man Garrison as Adjutant and was billeted at The Bowling Green Hotel in Douglas. This is where he met his first wife: her mother ran the hotel.
His son, George, was born before the end of the war and Frank returned to the hotel in 1946 after he was demobbed. For two years he helped to manage the hotel then he returned to his roots in Formby. His wife and son joined him but the marriage did not work out.
Back in Formby, Frank went to work as a Tax Consultant at a Liverpool Firm of Chartered Accountants and started his exams both as a Chartered Secretary and a Chartered Accountant. He became a Partner and was one of the leading Tax Experts in Liverpool, retiring in 1981.
He enjoyed playing tennis and was a member of Formby Lawn Tennis Club for a good part of his life. He was Treasurer from 1954 to 1976 and Captain for 4 years. Later they made him Life President. He was credited with “moulding the Formby Lawn Tennis Club into the successful club you see today”.
Since before the war, Frank had known Jean Mary Scott, a good golfer. They married in 1959. They enjoyed spending time in the Lake District and shared a love of Scotland through which Frank was able to pursue his interest in railways. Frank loved good food accompanied by a glass of red wine and it was sad that health difficulties, including an inability to swallow, eventually deprived him of the pleasure of eating out.
Frank passed away on Friday, July 1st 2016 just 6 days before his 100th birthday and the small party that his son had arranged for him. He had, however, a good long life with many years to enjoy his retirement, a loving wife, good friends and some wonderful neighbours.
With thanks to George Noble, Franks’ son, and Trevor Hildrey, the Boys’ School archivist, for their contributions towards this tribute.