On November 17, 2011, Franklyn Brown, a long-time supporter of the study of subchaser history, passed away. Many of you knew Franklyn through email correspondence, and some, I'm sure, have met him or spoken with him on the phone at one time or another. He loved "talking chasers," and was always a go-to source for interesting little details, or to share new bits of information.
Franklyn was one of the first people I contacted, years ago, when the confluence of various events and situations left me with the time and inclination to get serious about studying the collection of materials my great uncle had collected. I'm not sure which of us was more enthusiastic about coming across another person with a deep interest in pursuing this small corner of military history. I do know that for me he was initially an exciting contact to make, and over time became a friend and sounding board for ideas about the nitty-gritty details. I could send him a blow-up of a tiny segment of an old engine photo, and pass a dozen emails back and forth about what was shown, and know that he wouldn't just be humoring me by engaging in the conversation.
No doubt most of you have seen the photos of his excellent chaser model, in the Showcase section (and on the landing page). Franklyn started that model when he was in his teens, and kept working on it into his eighties, at least. Each time one of us would come across a new detail -- the position of a mast light, or a color detail, or the like -- he would get back to the model and make changes, accordingly.
I'll miss him. His obituary from the local Holbrook, Massachusetts newspaper, is here.
Just a short while before I heard of Franklyn's passing, I heard from Dan Treadwell that his father, Ted Treadwell, had passed away. Ted's excellent website, splinterfleet.org, covers the history of chasers in the second World War -- and was the source of my contact with Franklyn, I believe, as he and Ted had been corresponding for a long time prior to my having come across either of them.
Ted, like Franklyn, was a great supporter of naval history, and an excellent source of information on chasers. Often in correspondence with one of them, the other would be drawn in, and fine discussions resulted.
I was especially grateful to Ted for being among the small group of readers of my subchaser book draft, prior to its publication in 2006, and honored to be able to include a quote from him on the cover.
My best wishes to the families, and my thanks to Franklyn and Ted for all their help and support, and for helping to keep this piece of military history alive.
-- Todd Woofenden, Editor