Hawkins, Frank

Hawkins, Frank

Frank James Hawkins was born in Wivelscombe in Somerset in 1885. On leaving school he trained to be a blacksmith, but around the turn of the century moved to South Wales, where he joined the South Wales constabulary, and was stationed in Porth.

Frank made his first appearance for Pontypridd in September 1905, and was vice-captain to Duncan McGregor for the 1906-07 season. On October 20th, he was called in as a late replacement to play for Somerset against South Africa at Taunton, after three Bristol players withdrew. The match, played before 8,000 spectators, saw South Africa emerge victors by fourteen points to nil.

In January 1908, he married Jane Williams, who was the landlord's daughter in the New York Hotel, Porth. A short time later, P.C. No 430 left the force to run the Tynewydd Hotel, Porth, and now the club had him full time, rather than on a part-time basis when the Glamorgan Constabulary team did not require him. In the intervening years he played for the Glamorganshire team, and was elected captain for the 1911-12 season. his experience as a publican resulted in him becoming the club treasurer in season 1911-12.

On the field , he led by example, and with the club struggling as usual financially, and the local collieries on strike,the 1911-12 season was made memorable when Frank Hawkins was selected to play for Wales.

He was a 5ft 11in tall mobile forward and was brought into a Welsh team that had lost its first match of the season at Twickenham and the second against Scotland.

Frank made his Welsh debut at Balmoral Showgrounds, Belfast, when he was one of eight new caps, in a side that lost 12-5. He succeeded in holding his place in the team for the final international game of the season against France at Newport, in what was the last full international match played at Rodney Parade. Despite winning 14-8, Frank had played his second and last game for Wales.

Frank was re-elected skipper for the 1912-13 season. meanwhile, he became one of the first people in the Rhondda to own a car. Unfortunately, after a few minor accidents, he sold his car because he said that it was interfering with his drinking!

During the First World War, Frank joined the 14th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment.

On July 10th 1916, he suffered severe injuries to his right leg at the battle of Mametz Wood, in one of the bloodiest weeks of the war. He had attacked a hostile machine gun and killed the man working it, and showed great bravery until wounded.

After the War, Frank Hawkins received the Military Cross for 'Conspicuous Gallantry in Action'.

Invalided out of the Army because of his leg and mustard gas poisoning, he returned as landlord to the Tynewydd Hotel, Porth.

In 1925, he and his family emigrated to America, but after a short while returned to Pontypridd, where he became the landlord to the Malsters Arms, Ruperra Arms, and Bridge Hotel, Treforest.

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