Frank Instone

Wing Commander Frank Arnold Instone was commissioned into the RAF for the duration of the Second World War, having had to resign his Territorial Army commission at the outbreak of war as his role in the family coal mining business was a reserved occupation.

Returning to the colours after Dunkirk (and delivering an ultimatum to both the company and the Government insisting he be released to re-enlist) he served mainly with the Provost Marshal’s branch and focusing on counter-intelligence work.

His first jo was at RAF Kirton-on-Teeling near Dundee to make the security arrangements for the arrival of Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, who was stopping of in the UK to sign a treaty before flying on to America.

He was specifically assigned to the Dambusters project, providing security and counter espionage cover for that operation before being posted to HQ Tactical Air Force (HQ TAF) at Bracknell in Berkshire as Air Marshal Conningham’s chief of security in the run up to D-Day, organising operational security for all the air assets to be deployed in that operation. He also took a leading role in organising Belgian Officers into an effective security force in anticipation of the liberation of their homeland, and by many reports was the first Allied soldier to enter Brussels.

He was decorated by the Governments of Belgium, the Netherlands (Officer of the Order of the Crown), France and the US (Medal of Freedom and Bronze Star) for his contribution to the war effort.

The Instones were colliery owners in Wales, and Instone rejoined the family business, becoming a director of the business and the Bedwas Navigation Colliery after the end of the war until the nationalisation of the collieries in 1947. The family also owned the Instone Airline, which later merged with Imperial Airways.

Instone went to Eton and Jesus. The family connection to Wales also clearly instilled a love of Rugby in Instone, and he was connected to both London Welsh and the WRU, and he was also a keen cricketer. He was a Skinner, a connection which runs through the family to the present day.