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Frank Robert Taylor

Frank Robert Taylor

Frank Taylor, who was know locally and around the harbour by his nickname of Doodles, was born and raised in Wells and was involved with the sea and the harbour all his life.

At the age of fourteen, he joined the crew of a whelk boat fishing out of Wells until the outbreak of WWII when he joined the Royal Navy at Lowestoft, the base for the minesweepers.

While on service, laying mines in enemy waters in the Skagerrak, a strait off the Norwegian coast, his ship, the Van Meerlant, struck a mine and sank with a crew of 118; only Frank and 20 others were rescued.

After a short recuperation leave he returned to service and was made up to a Chief Petty Officer and was transferred to naval intelligence working as a commando helping to smuggle the Free French and secret agents ashore from British submarines and MTB surface vessels. He was rewarded for this work with the Distinguished Service Medal. In 1944, Frank played a big part in the D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches.

After his service in the navy, Frank returned to Wells and was appointed Trinity House pilot in 1951. He would navigate the 500 tonne ships up to the quayside at Wells, sometimes cramming in up to eight doubled up on the harbour wall to be loaded or unloaded.

Frank was appointed Harbour Master at Wells in 1956, and he served for 18 years until 1974 when he retired as Harbour Master and Trinity House pilot. He went on to serve as a Harbour Commissioner for a further 23 years finishing a 70 year devotion to Wells Harbour.

Frank was a very well respected Harbour Master and was always a very modest man, and had the greatest knowledge of the port of Wells and the north Norfolk coast. It is a fitting tribute that the new feeder vessel, Frank-T has been named after him so that his name can continue in the port for generations to come.

The Frank-T