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Francis Francis


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#1 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 10:32

I'm looking for information on a driver Francis Francis (yes - his real name but occasionally called Frank Francis).

 

He was listed as a Great Britain domiciled entrant and I have him racing a Fitzwilliam Team Lola Mk2 FJ (incorrectly recorded as a Mk3 rear engine car) at Monaco on 13 May 1961, Chimay 21 May 1961, Roskilde Ring 28 May 1961 and Montihery on 24 September and 8 October 1961 - then he seems to disappear.

 

There was a recollection that he may have been related to Marion (Jo) Carstairs - the powerboat racer and sometimes funder of Malcolm Campbell and John Cobb.



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#2 john winfield

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 11:31

Couldn't resist having a dig around, but have found no trace of FF after that October 1961 Montlhéry race. I noticed though that he moved from the Fitzwilliam team to S.O.A.P. Racing. Strange too that, if GB domiciled, he doesn't seem to have raced in the UK.



#3 john winfield

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 11:54

If this is the same Francis Francis who was 'Joe' Carstairs half-brother then he would have been quite old when racing in 1961. Born in 1906, according to WikiTree, he would have been 54/55, so perhaps age is the key reason for his disappearance from the racing records. 

 

Geni.com suggests he died in 1982, in the Bahamas, and is buried in Twickenham, where he was born. Here's a photo for anyone interested:

 

https://www.geni.com...000013414755995



#4 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 11:56

Thanks John - perhaps he was born in GB but resided in Europe (or even Bermuda if related to Jo Carstairs). The S.O.A.P racing is interesting as the car was entered as a Fitzwilliam Team owned car (but leased by Ecurie Mille Miglia) in 1962 for Teddy Pilette at Goodwood, so presumably they still owned it when S.O.A.P entered it? As for FF he just seems to have arrived and done a few races then disappeared.



#5 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 12:00

If this is the same Francis Francis who was 'Joe' Carstairs half-brother then he would have been quite old when racing in 1961. Born in 1906, according to WikiTree, he would have been 54/55, so perhaps age is the key reason for his disappearance from the racing records. 

 

Geni.com suggests he died in 1982, in the Bahamas, and is buried in Twickenham, where he was born. Here's a photo for anyone interested:

 

https://www.geni.com...000013414755995

Thanks - so if it was him then he was related to Jo Carstairs.  As you say, if born in 1906 he would have been around 55 in 1961 - maybe S.O.A.P stood for something like Squadra Old Age Pensioner?



#6 john winfield

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 12:20

Thanks - so if it was him then he was related to Jo Carstairs.  As you say, if born in 1906 he would have been around 55 in 1961 - maybe S.O.A.P stood for something like Squadra Old Age Pensioner?

 

Ha! Could be!

 

Or another possibility...I read that, when young, he inherited a lot of Standard Oil shares. Might FF have set up a short-lived team post-Fitzwilliam,  SOAP...Standard Oil A? P?.....with a limited amount of Esso sponsorship until they decided that Jack Brabham was a better bet!


Edited by john winfield, 23 April 2020 - 12:39.


#7 Geoff E

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 14:40

On the death of his father in 1928, Francis Francis was one of the will's executors.  He was described as Lieutenant, HM Army.



#8 ReWind

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 15:58

Maybe there was even Francis Francis the Fourth. A son of FF III could have been born in the late 1920s or the 1930s giving him the fitting age for a motor racing adventure in 1961.



#9 Geoff E

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 16:37

"The Sketch"  of 11 December 1929 tells of the engagement of "A millionaire subaltern of the Blues and his actress fiancee, Mr Francis Francis and MIss Sunny Jarman."  The GRO marriage index names her as Sunshine Jarmann.

 

A newspaper report of the marriage, later that month, can be found here https://www.nytimes....ctress-and.html



#10 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 16:57

I'm looking for information on a driver Francis Francis (yes - his real name but occasionally called Frank Francis).

 

He was listed as a Great Britain domiciled entrant and I have him racing a Fitzwilliam Team Lola Mk2 FJ (incorrectly recorded as a Mk3 rear engine car) at Monaco on 13 May 1961, Chimay 21 May 1961, Roskilde Ring 28 May 1961 and Montihery on 24 September and 8 October 1961 - then he seems to disappear.

 

Hm. I have him racing on solidly through 1962 and '63! With a Caravelle in the former year (variously entered by himself, SOAP, Bob Hicks and/or Richard Utley - meaning, a "works" entry iirc), and a Lotus 27 in the latter (self entered, except for one race at Goodwood - Inter Auto Course). Same man, surely?



#11 ReWind

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 18:04

There actually was a younger Francis Francis, born on 02 July 1933 in Freiburg (!) to Francis & Solveig Jarman.
Source



#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 18:20

There actually was a younger Francis Francis, born on 02 July 1933 in Freiburg (!) to Francis & Solveig Jarman.
Source

He seems to have spent the war years in the USA. Ancestry has him arriving in New York from Galway in June 1940 with his mother and younger brother, returning  to Southampton in December 1945.



#13 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 19:30

There actually was a younger Francis Francis, born on 02 July 1933 in Freiburg (!) to Francis & Solveig Jarman.
Source

That may be a better bet for our man - he would have been 27 at the time of the Monaco race as compared to the older FF who would have been 54. Presume still members of the same family?



#14 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 19:32

Hm. I have him racing on solidly through 1962 and '63! With a Caravelle in the former year (variously entered by himself, SOAP, Bob Hicks and/or Richard Utley - meaning, a "works" entry iirc), and a Lotus 27 in the latter (self entered, except for one race at Goodwood - Inter Auto Course). Same man, surely?

Hadn't picked those races up - will have to pull my results book out again as clearly the same man to the 1961 Lola entries.



#15 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 19:36

"The Sketch"  of 11 December 1929 tells of the engagement of "A millionaire subaltern of the Blues and his actress fiancee, Mr Francis Francis and MIss Sunny Jarman."  The GRO marriage index names her as Sunshine Jarmann.

 

A newspaper report of the marriage, later that month, can be found here https://www.nytimes....ctress-and.html

This ties in with the FF identified in post #11 as the identity document shows his mother Solweig (Sunny?) Jarman.



#16 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 19:44

That may be a better bet for our man - he would have been 27 at the time of the Monaco race as compared to the older FF who would have been 54. Presume still members of the same family?

 

Must be both father and mothers name match, they lived in a house / mansion in Switzerland named 'Solveig' which I presume named from Sunny... Interesting person being uncovered here.

 

:cool:



#17 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 20:14

Must be both father and mothers name match, they lived in a house / mansion in Switzerland named 'Solveig' which I presume named from Sunny... Interesting person being uncovered here.

 

:cool:

Just found the following reference :

 

Jo Carstairs' half brother Francis (Frank) Francis had been selected to represent Britain in three Olympics events in 1928, though he had to withdraw after contacting scarlet fever. He had then become a daring aviator and champion amateur golfer. During the Second World War, Frank helped produce fighter aircraft for the RAF and ferried planes between airfields; he later played a part in inventing the ejection seat. Frank Francis shared Jo's enthusiasm for actresses. In 1929 he had been dismissed from the Royal Horse Guards for marrying an actress, an American named Sunny Jarman; they were later divorced.

 

So it appears that "our" FF was the son of Francis (Frank) Francis and Sunny Jarman and as such, was the nephew of Jo Carstairs and a heir to the Standard Oil fortune which no doubt helped fund his racing. I wonder if he is still around - he would be 86.



#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 20:53

Ferrying planes would suggest the elder Francis Francis flew with the Air Transport Auxiliary and the ejection seat stuff presumably means he was connected with Martin-Baker.

 

Oddly enough, he's the second person I've come across this week who had to resign a commission for daring to marry an American actress!



#19 hatrat

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 21:08

Just found this for the younger Francis Francis :

 

The first Japanese GP was held at Suzuka in May 1963. The main race of the event was a sports car and GT race and the organisers invited some foreign drivers:

 

Francis Francis drove an ex-Ecurie Francorchamps Jaguar D and his mechanic was Gérard Crombac, Editor of Sport Auto.



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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 April 2020 - 21:38

He certainly moved in the best circles...

 

I can't add anything, except to say that I'm sure I heard about the S.O.A.P. entrant before somewhere (in the very distant past) and I feel sure it was explained at the time.



#21 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 05:21

The D type was apparently owned by Crombac.

 

A little more here.  Francis is described by this site as "Francis Francis, Jr."

 

https://www.racingsp...Francis-GB.html

 

Vince H.



#22 hatrat

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 05:55

The D type was apparently owned by Crombac.

 

A little more here.  Francis is described by this site as "Francis Francis, Jr."

 

https://www.racingsp...Francis-GB.html

 

Vince H.

Thats interesting as it shows him racing in the GP of Rio de Janeiro in an Lotus Elite in November 1960 and the identity document in post #11 is a entry permit for him going to Brazil on 24 October 1960 - presumably to race at the GP of Rio de Janeiro?



#23 PZR

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 10:45

Just found this for the younger Francis Francis :

 

The first Japanese GP was held at Suzuka in May 1963. The main race of the event was a sports car and GT race and the organisers invited some foreign drivers:

 

Francis Francis drove an ex-Ecurie Francorchamps Jaguar D and his mechanic was Gérard Crombac, Editor of Sport Auto.

Official programme for the event lists Frank Francis as being 29 years old. 

 

MHn3H9.jpg

VJRfUW.jpg

 

That's Francis in the middle, between Peter Warr and Huschke von Hanstein.


Photos courtesy Auto Sport Japan Archives.



#24 hatrat

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Posted 24 April 2020 - 20:09

Official programme for the event lists Frank Francis as being 29 years old. 

 

MHn3H9.jpg

VJRfUW.jpg

 

That's Francis in the middle, between Peter Warr and Huschke von Hanstein.

Photos courtesy Auto Sport Japan Archives.

 

Thanks



#25 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 18:24

I remember FF as racing right at the outset of what might laughingly be described as my 'career' - in 1963.  Never knew much about him but was intrigued by the name - which I took initially to be a misprint.

 

DCN



#26 Peter Morley

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 14:46

Presumably the same Francis Francis who had Formula Junior Lotus 27 chassis no. 1 in 1963?



#27 hatrat

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Posted 02 May 2020 - 11:33

Presumably the same Francis Francis who had Formula Junior Lotus 27 chassis no. 1 in 1963?

He didn't seem to have had a very successful time with the Lotus 27 in 1963. As it was chassis #1 then I presume it was one of the "flexi" cars with a part fibreglass monocoque which may have been the reason.

 

I have managed to contact his family who have confirmed the lineage noted at the end of post #17 but not much more information at this stage.



#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 01:10

There's a photo of Francis Francis at Monaco in 1962 here:

 

http://mydadsphotos....f22ad4edf1/1393

 

There are photos of dozens of others at Monaco in 1962 in that 'dadsphotos' lot.



#29 Peter Morley

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 15:38

He didn't seem to have had a very successful time with the Lotus 27 in 1963. As it was chassis #1 then I presume it was one of the "flexi" cars with a part fibreglass monocoque which may have been the reason.

 

I have managed to contact his family who have confirmed the lineage noted at the end of post #17 but not much more information at this stage.

 

It certainly would have started as a fibreglass car but Lotus were fairly quick to replace them, no idea whether they replaced all of them though.

One problem was being much stiffer than space framed cars 27s were less forgiving than more flexible cars, and required rather more skill at the limit - e.g. you had to be really good to make the most of them.

 

I would really like to know what happened to his 27, please bear that in mind if you find anyone in the family who has any records/recollection.



#30 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 13:20

Accidentally found another picture of a Francis Francis in "Les Grandes Heures de Montlhéry" (Dominique Pascal). At the start of the Coupe De Paris (Formula Junior, 23-09-1962) he is on the front row (Right hand side) with a Caravelle-Ford, no. 56. This is obviously the same car as the Monaco picture earlier that year.



#31 PZR

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Posted 18 June 2020 - 13:26

A shot of Francis in his Cosworth Ford-powered Lotus 22 at Suzuka Circuit during the 2nd 'Japan Grand Prix' race meeting in May 1964.

 

There were two Formula Junior races at the meeting, both won by Michael Knight in his Brabham BT6. Francis was 3rd in race 1, and 4th in race 2.

 

Photo credit Auto Sport Japan magazine:

 

iJJxuf.jpg


Edited by PZR, 18 June 2020 - 13:27.


#32 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 18 June 2020 - 14:10

A shot of Francis in his Cosworth Ford-powered Lotus 22 at Suzuka Circuit during the 2nd 'Japan Grand Prix' race meeting in May 1964.

 

There were two Formula Junior races at the meeting, both won by Michael Knight in his Brabham BT6. Francis was 3rd in race 1, and 4th in race 2.

 

Photo credit Auto Sport Japan magazine:

 

 

 

Great shot, great looking car, how much fun must it be to do laps in that?

 

:cool: