Family Background
Frankie Fraser's family on his father's side were originally from Scotland but at some time moved to Canada.
His grandfather was born there and married a Red Indian.
Frankie's father ran away from home at the age of ten, serving in the Merchant Navy and American Navy before coming to London as a Merchant seaman.
He met Frank's mother, married and settled in England.
Frank's grandmother on his mother's side was from Cork in Ireland and his grandfather, a Norwegian hat maker.
Francis Davidson Fraser, better known as MAD Frankie Fraser was born in South London on the 13th of December 1923.
He was the youngest of five. His sister Peggy was five years older than he was and the twins Kathleen and Jimmy were 3 years and four months older.
His sister Eva, 15 months older was the closest to Frank and she looked after him as a child and stood by him as a man through all of his court appearances and prison sentences. They were the best of friends and also the best of thieves.
She married Jimmy Brindle from a well known South London family.
Frank's parents were on the whole hard working, proud, law abiding citizens. A very poor family but provided the best they could for their children. His mother, who Frank has said was very naive probably knew all about their pilfering and turned a blind eye after hearing the amazing stories concocted by her offspring.
The family lived in Cornwall Road where they were all born but then moved to Howley Place, Waterloo, later renamed Howley Terrace.
When Frank was five years old he had a bad accident that almost killed him.
He used to collect cigarette cards of footballers and boxers and whenever lorries drove down Howley Street he would chase them and the drivers would throw out the cards onto the road. On this particular day a lorry driver threw some cards out and Frank ran after them, into the path of a lorry coming in the opposite direction. It ran over his head.
He was in and out of hospital for years after.
It was probably this accident that changed Frank's life and turned him into the most feared man in Britain. He was impervious to pain. Not feeling pain in the normal sense, gave him the freedom to express himself in the only way he knew. Violence.
Young Frankie and his sister Eva used to get second day bread from a company called Godden and Hanken in Great Newport Street. They would fill a pillowcase at a fraction of the cost of fresh bread and they would throw in some cakes as well. If their father had known he would have put a stop to it. Their mother however saw it as a necessity and accepted it as a way of alleviating the poverty that they lived in.
In the summer the family would go hop picking, a working holiday, in Paddock Wood or Marden in Kent. But there were never many photographs capturing these occasions or any occasions come to that. Frank says that photographs were expensive at sixpence, but it also meant new clothes as well. (Who wants to capture the image of poverty?)
When he was nine he worked as a bucket boy for Darbo Sabini, one of six brothers who controlled the racecourses. They controlled the bookmakers by providing them with protection from themselves (the Sabinis) and irate punters. They sold them the tissues to put the horses names on, the chalk to mark the odds on and the boys to clean the boards. This was Frankie's first taste of real money, earning between 2 shillings and sixpence and seven shillings and sixpence for the day. It was also an introduction that would hold him in good stead in later life.
He worked the courses for three years until he was put into retirement. The boys were not only there to wipe the boards but also to gain sympathy from the punters and the younger they were the more sympathetic the punters were.
Frank was brought up a catholic and went to St Patricks school in Cornwall Road. He was captain of the school team until he left.
He was picked for Lambeth Schoolboys and South London Schoolboys playing at inside right.
But as Frank's life progresses we can see that his career was not to be in football.