Frankau, Gilbert

BORN 21 Apr 1884, London - DIED 4 Nov 1952, Hove, East Sussex
CAUSE OF DEATH lung cancer
GRAVE LOCATION London: Hampstead Cemetery, Fortune Green Road, Camden

Gilbert Frankau came from a Jewish family but became an Anglican when he was thirteen years old. He was educated at Eton before he entered the cigar business of his family. In 1901 he had published a volume of poems, "Eton Echoes". After his father Arthur's death in 1904 and he became manager of the business on his twenty-first birthday. In 1905 he married Dorothea Frances Markham Drummond-Black and in 1906 their daughter Ursula was born. A second daughter, the novelist Pamela Frankau, was born in 1908. In 1912 he published "One of Us", written in the same metre as Byron's "Don Juan".

He entered the army when the First World War broke out in 1914 and during the war he wrote for the Wipers Times. He left the army early in 1918. The family business was gone by then and he concentrated on writing. In 1919 "Peter Jackson, Cigar Merchant" was published and it sold over 100,000 copies. In the same year he left his wife and children to live with another woman. He worked as a political journalist and wrote stories and novels. In 1928 he headed the launch of the new right-wing weekly Britannia but it failed.

He divorced his second wife in 1930 and in 1932 he married for the third time. He wanted to be an MP for the Conservative Party, but he was told that they would never accept a divorced person. In 1933 he wrote an article "As a Jew I am Not Against Hitler" for the Daily Express. Later he changed his position and his autobiography from 1939 contained anti-German statements. In 1939 he was enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and in 1940 he became a squadron leader. In 1941 left the service as an invalid. He was awarded a pension in 1944. Shortly before his death of lung cancer in 1952 he converted to Roman Catholism.

• Mother: Frankau, Julia
• Daughter: Frankau, Pamela
• Daughter: Frankau, Ursula


The grave of Arthur and Julia Frankau at Hampstead Cemetery, Fortune Green Road, London.
Picture by Androom (17 Mar 2006)


Gilbert Frankau - Wikipedia

Frankau, Julia

Published: 27 Apr 2019
Last update: 19 Jan 2022