Frank Glen – Tributes

VALE PATRON FRANK GLEN

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Frank delivering his address to the 1998 50th AGM

Frank Glen was a friend to all and will be sorely missed. As David Ricquish says below, it is a double body blow to the League losing our Chief Editor and Patron within 6 months of each other.

I first met Frank Glen at the convention held at Camp Iona in 2003. I was greeted warmly and welcomed into the fold, so to speak. I later that year moved to Christchurch from Wellington and began organising branch meetings. Frank was always a regular attender, and host. I well remember the event referred to by David Ricquish (see below). It is probably the most amazing QSL I have seen, or rather heard. He took over the role of organiser after I left for overseas.

Frank was a keen DXer but his hearing had suffered greatly from the noise associated with flying. We always took the trouble to provide Frank with details he might have missed when logging a station. I know he was tickled pink to get the veries back from them.

When we moved overseas, Frank and Margret came to stay with us in Dubai. They were on their way to an ANZAC Day celebration in Belgium. When Maureen and I were married in 2010, Frank helped to officiate at the blessing of our wedding in Christchurch. The cover photo comes from that occasion.

His activities as an apprentice electrician, an outback flying padre and an RAAF Chaplain lead me on to a couple of Frank’s favourite stories. We were at Tiwai, when Paul Aronsen suggested we go to see what was left of the 6 by 3 at the Riverton Rocks. We were just coming in to Riverton when Frank went into ecstasy. There it was – the lampost and light he had erected and installed as a young apprentice – still standing and still working. It was the crowning moment of his career in the electrical world.

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Frank with Eric McIntosh

The first tale concerned his work in the outback. On one occasion Frank was taking off from the middle of nowhere and there was a large storm between him and his home base. He tried desperately to communicate with base, but to no avail. Suddenly on the RT there came a call from an RAAF plane on its way north to Darwin and on to Vietnam. The pilot relayed the message to base for him and with a cheery thanks and God Bless, Frank carried on his merry way.

A couple of years passed and Frank joined the RAAF. He was in the Officers’ Mess on his first day on the job when he met a Wing Commander. When Frank explained who he was and what he had been doing, the penny dropped. The gentleman concerned had been the pilot of that plane. He then proceeded to expressly forbid Frank from ever mentioning God on air again. It turns out that when he hadsigned off, the RAAF plane had been almost immediately hit by lightning and quite a bit of damage had been done!

The second story comes in two parts and shows the true Frank. He had an element of the anarchist in him as will be seen.

RAAF Williamstown was to receive a visit form HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Everybody was briefed and the officers were given rosters of 10 minutes to engage in conversation with the Duke. They were told what they could and could not discuss, which Frank promptly ignored. The first thing he asked the Duke was, ‘how’s the wife, sir?’ To which the Duke launched into a tirade about his wife, who had been ill and wouldn’t see a doctor, the so and so kids who weren’t behaving … and so it went on. The CO was apoplectic, but as Frank explained, whenever he talks to parishioners he asks about family and it tends to relax them, as it had evidently done in this instance!

Five years passed and the Duke was on a return visit. Again the officers were briefed and warned to stick to the line. The Duke walked into the mess saw Frank and exclaimed: ‘I know you, you’re the padre that doesn’t drink!’ (Possibly the only one in the forces!). He then went on to say something to the effect that either he was the best padre in the forces and they wouldn’t let him go or he was the worst and nobody else would take him on! Frank then asked him … ‘How is your wife, sir?’, at which point the CO went puce and was quietly led away to a padded cell.

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Frank at Tiwai, his “magic place”

When the earthquake struck Christchurch, Frank and Margret’s home was devastated and their lives shocked beyond measure. For those of us who were not there, it is hard to imagine what the wholesale destruction must have been like. Despite the obvious effect on their own lives, Frank selflessly ministered to the needs of those around him, offering solace and comfort to those in need. But who looked after Frank? Why, Margret, of course. Behind every good man …. Margret was certainly his support.

We have lost a great friend, wise counsel and loyal DXer. To Margret our sincere condolences. Requiescat in pace! Stu Forsyth, Malaysia

It has been a great privilege to have known our late patron Frank Glen – this larger than life, convivial teller of tales, with his disarming grin, always with wise or witty words to liven up the DX League meetings, conventions and listening sessions we shared. Frank always added colour and wisdom to any occasion. Pomp and ceremony became part of the DXpeditions to Tiwai and other places.

His life experience was so much greater than ours, he could always be relied on for wise counsel when there were challenging or difficult issues for the DX League to address.

During his 6 years as League Patron Frank put a lot of effort into organising the Christchurch DXers group but the earthquakes cruelly intervened.

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He was also an important conduit in the DX League’s relationship with the Hocken Library where the clubs early archives are maintained. Frank liaised with University of Otago to initiate a postgraduate investigation of the history of DXing in NZ but a suitable candidate for this research still eludes us.

Sandra and I were fortunate to have spent time with Frank and Margret last month when Frank could still crack a joke and a cheeky smile, and remember shared DX experiences that I had forgotten.

He has run the race of life well and is now at peace with his Lord. Our sincerest sympathy goes out to Margret who has shared Frank with their local communities around NZ and Australia for more than 55 years.

Bryan Clark, Mangawhai

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Frank & Margret

Very sad to hear of Frank leaving us. That’s two body blows to the NZRDXL within the past 6 months with first, Mark Nicholls, and now, Frank. It will be a tribute to the strength of their memory that the NZRDXL is still left in good heart and able to face the future.

Frank visited me at home in Christchurch at a very low time, when my mother was in her final years at a rest home. His quiet words of comfort were from his heart and welcomed.

I remember a DX meeting at Frank’s home when he played an old QSL recording sent from KRE Berkeley. I remain inspired by his talk at Oamaru when he gave his view of how we were a mob of individuals who shared common cause and purpose with our hobby.

Frank embodied what that common cause and purpose is, and will be sadly missed by all members in the weeks and months ahead.

But the memory of his friendship and pastoral caring of his flock of radio friends gives me cause for quiet confidence as we move forward without him. To Margret his wife, thanks for sharing Frank with us through the years. God works in mysterious ways. David Ricquish, Christchurch/Wellington

Frank and the late Eric McIntosh (Life Member)

I was saddened when logging on to ‘dxdialog’ this morning to hear of Frank’s passing.

We met on just one occasion, the mini-convention for League’s 65th anniversary at Sandra and Bryan Clark’s in Mangawhai. I was lucky enough to share a room at the accommodation up the road, and to have Frank entertaining Barry Williams and myself with DX and non-DX tales after lights out!

One contribution to ‘Mailbag’ about 18 months ago included the hope to explore the possibilities of Rakiura for noise-free reception over his 80th birthday visit to Masons Bay, but a later plan for a DXpedition in 2015 was not to be. Theo Donnelly, Vancouver, Canada

Yesterday I learnt the sad news that Frank Glen, Patron and Life Member had passed on to a better world. I am not sure when I first met Frank but I well remember a number of nights in the lounge at Tiwai with the only light coming from the fire and listening to Frank tell us some of his exploits. I remember one story about Frank and a rock in Doubtful Sound and always remember when on an overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound a year or so later, the

Captain of the vessel related that same story when passing the rock.

We were privileged to have Frank join us for our DX week at Okains Bay last year and during that week he told us of his plans to have a DX week in a remote house on Stewart Island in 2016 and that we were invited. Such was his enthusiasm for the DX hobby.

Frank’s wise counsel to League members will be sadly missed by all in the hobby here in New Zealand.

To Frank’s wife, Margret, you are in our thoughts at this time and to Frank, farewell friend.

Arthur De Maine, Kakanui

Very sad to have this news. One is left thinking that the huge stress caused by the damage to Frank and Margret’s home in the Christchurch earthquake, not to mention the subsequent battles with bureaucracy over insurance and re-building, might have played their part in hastening Frank’s medical condition and his demise. That such an incident should occur so late in their lives when they should have been enjoying a quiet and comfortable existence at home was a cruel twist of fate, but one which they have both faced with strength and dignity.

Frank was a fine man and his friendship will be sorely missed. His long-time interest in the DXing field and, of course, the many publications and books which bear his name as author, will enable us to enjoy memories of him long into the future.

As a former ‘man of the cloth’ and a person of strong faith, Frank will travel safely into the night… Martin Hadlow, Travelling

Where do I start, and where would I finish, as trying to put a tribute into few lines on Frank, is impossible? I remember travelling to Tiwai for a meeting. Frank told us, how he had gone out on a surveillance flight on an Australian Air Force plane, above the Australian coast line and how they had circled what was supposed to be a fishing boat. Upon coming lower, the boat was found to be spying, and quickly the crew members covered their naval uniforms with fisherman jackets and dropped the radio antennas. Frank was busy with his camera,(he was not actually permitted to do this). The film was taken and printed by the Air Force and he was told they where very good.

That was the first of many stories that he told us at Conventions, Tiwai trips, etc. There followed stories about meeting Prince Phillip when he made a visit to an RAAF Base.

Another story about an Australian Soldier with Tin Legs, and many others that he kept us amused with over the years. Frank loved going to Tiwai. He found a handbag on the beach, and also a pressure plate from a 1st World War German U Boat and told us how it was sunk. There was also the flag raising ceremony and lowering each day carried out by Frank and the First Sea Lord from Oamaru (Peter Grenfell).

Frank came in from a nature call one very clear night, sat down at his radio, and declared, “Tiwai is the most Magical place in the World”. He loved being a Dxer, and being with us all who enjoyed the hobby of DX.

I felt privileged to have been at Frank’s bedside the day before he left us all in the NZRDXL.

Echo Foxtrot Golf (Frank’s plane with the Methodist Far West Mission in Aust) You now have permission to take off. Paul Aronsen, Wallacetown, Invercargill

When visiting my grandparents place, I would scour their modest library looking for new books to read. Grandad was a fan of NZ biographies and stories, and that’s where I saw the name “Frank Glen” for  the first time. I read “Holy Joe’s People” first, followed by “Fly High, Reach Far” and “Bush in our Yard” – his books were hard to put down. Each book has etched recollections into the memory-banks.

I first met Frank in the late 1980s when Frank lived in Thames. Peter Grenfell brought him to a DX session at Waianakarua and Frank left a very deep impression. As soon as he walked out the door, you couldn’t wait to meet him again and be regaled by his anecdotes.

Frank visited Waianakarua many times and was the self-appointed breakfast chef; tea-towel slung over the shoulder and still in his pyjamas he would turn out his legendary bacon, eggs & tomatoes for all gathered. When conditions were flat, we’d learn of his army days, his parishioners, blokes he had met hunting, book collecting, stamp collecting and his many other interests. When conditions were really good and his trusty Grundig was alive with Yanks, he’d let out his customary laugh and his face would light up. Frank was in his element, and when Frank was happy, it rubbed off.

His great conversation and tremendous good nature along with his sense of humour will be very much missed by all that knew Frank.

My condolences go to Margret and their families.

Rest in peace my dear mate.

Please pass on our condolences about Frank Grenfell Glen from our side of the ditch.

John Wright, Australian Radio DX Club

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