Master Frank Hook

Frank Hook
Third Class Passenger
Saved
The Hook FamilyImage:  New York Times, Sunday, 30 May 1915.
Born Francis Hook
22 March 1904
Essex, England, United Kingdom
Died September 1998 (age 94)
Williamstown, Victoria, Australia
Age on Lusitania 11
Traveling with - George Hook (father)
- Elsie Hook (sister)
- Annie Marsh (housekeeper)
-Thomas Marsh (Annie’s husband)
- Thomas Marsh, Jr. (Annie’s child)
Rescued by Brock
Citizenship British
Residence Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Frank Hook, 11, was the son of George Hook and brother of Elsie Hook.  They were from England but had emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  After the death of Mrs. Hook, the family planned to move back to England and booked Lusitania.  During the sinking, Frank was separated from George and Elsie, but they were later reunited in Queenstown, Ireland.  The entire family was saved.

Contents
  1. Family and background
  2. Lusitania
  3. Disaster
  4. Rescue and reunion
  5. Education and employment
  6. Australia
  7. Links of interest

 

Family and background


Frank Hook was born in Essex, England, United Kingdom on 22 March 1904.  Frank was described as small and adventurous whereas his sister Elsie was tall for her age and extremely shy.

In 1907, the Hook family emigrated to Canada, where his father George found work at a metal plant in Toronto.  Mrs. Hook passed away in late 1913 while the family was in Canada, and George thought it would be best to move the family back to England. 

 

Lusitania


Eighteen months after Mrs. Hook's death, the family would sail on Lusitania.  George sold the family home and took Elsie and Frank to New York City, where they stayed for a week.  Compared to Toronto, the Hooks found New York to be “noisy and dirty,” but they were excited to sail on Lusitania, which they called “the big ship.”

The Hooks had originally planned to travel second cabin, but when George found out that their housekeeper, Annie Marsh and husband Thomas and son also named Thomas were traveling third class on Lusitania, George decided, “we won’t be separated — let’s all travel together” and changed his family’s ticket to third class.  Otherwise, third class passengers were not allowed to mix with the other classes, even though second cabin passengers were known to cross over into saloon accommodations.

George had only paid half-fare for Elsie’s ticket, even though she was a year over age.  As they boarded, George whispered to his daughter, “Duck down, Elsie!  Make yourself as small as possible.”

On board, the Hook family dined with the Marsh family, and made friends with John Welsh, an emigrant who was also returning to England, and Gerda Neilson, the woman whom he had met just before sailing.

On Tuesday, 4 May, Frank won a race on board and won a badge.  

 

Disaster


On Friday, 7 May before lunch, Elsie was talking to some girls about flowers.  A young man who had listened in on the conversation said to Elsie, “Do you like flowers?  I’ve got some in my cabin.  I shall bring you a rose after lunch.”

Elsie, with George and Frank, proceeded to wait for the young man at the entrance to saloon class and second cabin.  At this time, a woman passenger insisted that Elsie post a letter for her.  Elsie didn’t want to do it, but she relented and went to post the letter on D deck.  Elsie was on the staircase leading down to the third class dining room when the torpedo hit.  She felt the ship lurch and, not waiting to see the reaction of people in the room eating lunch, she ran back on deck to find her father and brother.  George and Frank ran to meet up with her.

As the family reunited, Elsie saw a wad of dollars that someone had dropped on deck.  She grabbed them and showed them to her father, saying, “Look, Dad!”

“Throw them away,” George answered, “They may cost you your life.”

That was when young Elsie realized that they were truly in danger.  As they stood by the starboard rail, she held onto the rail and prayed for God to save them.  She then saw two elderly women holding onto each other and crying.  Elsie comforted them, saying, “Don’t worry, God will save you.”

George told his children to stay away from the crowded lifeboats that were spilling their loads instead of lowering.  They would jump into the sea together.  In the water, Frank was separated from George and Elsie.  A falling lifeboat broke Frank’s left thigh.

Hook Family reunited Image: New York Times, Sunday, 30 May 1915. Caption reads: “Reunion of George Hook, and children Frank and Elsie, in the Queenstown Hospital, All Having Been Saved from the Lusitania.”

 

Rescue and reunion


Frank was rescued by the patrol boat Brock.  Fellow survivor Dr. Daniel V. Moore splinted Frank's leg while aboard the rescue vessel.  After Dr. Moore finished fixing Frank's leg, Frank asked, "Is there a funny paper on the boat?"

Frank assumed that George and Elsie had drowned.  A fellow survivor from Leeds had offered to adopt Frank and take care of him for the rest of his life.

Three days passed before George and Elsie found Frank in the Queenstown hospital.  They had assumed the worst and had been looking for Frank in the mortuaries.  Now they were reunited and Frank did not need to go home with the survivor from Leeds.

 

Education and employment


Frank found his first job at the age of 13, working after school in a part-time position with the local chemist.  At age 14 he began full-time employment while attending night school until the age of 21.  He finished the last two years of his education at the Manchester Institute of Technology.

Frank then went to work for a millwright, jobbing workshop, and general manufacturer.  As the British economy transitioned back to peacetime production, Frank's employer firm moved into diecasting in 1921.

In 1923, Frank received a Diploma in Engineering.

 

Australia


In 1925, Frank moved to Australia and brought his sister and father with him.  They would live out the rest of their lives in Australia.

Frank first worked on a wheat farm in Victorian Mallee and then moved to Williamstown, Victoria to work as a toolmaker for HB Chalmers in 1927.  He started taking night classes again to study toolmaking at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and studied for another year to learn metallurgy.

At this time Frank set up a small tool room in his garage in Williamstown to machine die tools for plastic molding and produce plastic moldings of his own design.  His hobby was turning profits, so he left HB Chalmers in 1939 and started his own business, which became Frank Hook Products.  His growing business required his business to move from his garage to an actual factory in Melbourne in 1940.  As Frank Hook products grew, the company moved locations in 1942, 1950, and 1954.  The company moved to Altona North in 1966.  In 1988 the company moved away from diecasting to specialize in plastics.

Frank Hook passed away in September 1998 at the age of 94.  Frank Hook Products is now Hook Plastics, continuing to do business to this day.

Links of interest 


Founder of the Company:  Hook Plastics

Hook Plastics


Contributors:
Paul Latimer
Michael Poirier
Judith Tavares

References:
Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster, pages 36, 93, 126, 178, 218-9, 228, 270.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981.

"Founder of the Company."  Hook Plastics.  Online.  <http://www.hookplastics.com.au/Content.aspx?p=Founder>.

"Long Battle in the Water."  New York Times, Monday, 10 May 1915, page 3.

Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

About the Author