Whilst visiting friends in Stourbridge we came across this rather fine Bronze Statue. A seated figure with trilby hat feeding a starling… finely detailed, skilfully crafted and so lifelike.
On the wall behind the figure was a plaque. It simply stated….
The statue of Major Frank Foley was unveiled by HRH Duke of Cambridge on September 18th 2018.
This simple plaque left so many questions which needed investigating and so my knowledge of our history was expanded.
Major Francis ‘Frank’ Foley CMG was born in 1884. He became a Secret Intelligence Agent for the British Government. Prior to the Second World War he was station at the British Embassy in Berlin and was responsible for the Passport Control Office.
In this position he was able, as they say, to ‘bend the rules’ and by so doing was able to ensure that several thousand Jewish Families could escape Nazi Germany and the terrors and deaths of the Kristallnacht. He also had the respect of the Embassies of several other friendly countries who he was able to persuade to cooperate in the issuing of Visas for their counties.
Major Foley has been recognised as a ‘British Hero of the Holocaust’…..the British Schindler.
I did say that this was an aptly timed discovery as this Thursday World Leaders met in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum ahead of Mondays 75th Remembrance of the Liberation of Auschwitz.
After the war Major Foley retired in 1949 and lived in Stourbridge where he died in 1958. He was held in great affection by the local community where he contributed to the town and its peoples. It was folk from the community who arranged for the statue to this unsung war hero to be commissioned and Sculptor Jonathan Sells was contracted.
Major Frank Foley can be found sitting peacefully in Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, West Midlands.
(C) David Oakes 2020