Frank William Whitcombe, also known by the nickname of “The Big Man”, was a Welsh rugby union, and professional rugby leaque footballer who played in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Frank grew up in Cardiff, Wales and was one of ten children to parents Frederick and Gertrude Whitcombe. After leaving school at 14, he worked for a local coal miner initially and then van boy for the Great Western Railway.
He enlisted into the Army as a Sapper (or combat soldier specialising in engineering duties), becoming Lance Corporal and later Sargent Major in the Home Guards. After a successful, albeit brief, spell at boxing in the Army, his ruby career included Ruby League, Welsh Internationals, Great Britain. He was part of the GB Indomitable Tour of Australia and New Zealand (named after the Royal Navy warship which they caught a lift with – taking 6 weeks).
His farther was a Frederick William Whitcombe, who worked as a Blacksmith’s striker (and also bare-knuckle prize fighter in the local docks). His mother was Gertrude Whitcombe, who was an early entrepreneur – letting out rooms in the house for rental income as well as making home brew beer and sloe gin. His son is Frank Whitcombe Jrn, and grand son, Martin Whitcombe – both also successful professional rugby players.
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