Frank Wallis Ford (1906-1970) was born on 28th June 1906 at Forest Hill, South London, the son of Harry Ford, who was killed at Flanders in 1917, and Cecilia Keeler.
Ford studied at Bournemouth Art College, and in the 1920s submitted his first cartoons to ‘The Bystander’ magazine. Throughout the 1930s, he was one of their regular freelancers, with something like 300 drawings appearing, including a number of full-page spreads. A selection of his cartoons, under the title of ‘You Needn’t Laugh’, was published by Methuen in 1935. Ford also had work published in other popular magazines such as ‘Punch’, ‘Strand’, etc, and at the same time was enjoying success as an advertising artist.
In 1937, he provided the illustrations for ‘Eight Short Stories’ by Alec Waugh (published by Cassell) and ‘Why Should Penguins Fly?’ by American cabaret performer Dwight Fiske (published by Robert Hale). During World War II, Ford served in North Africa, where he was assigned to a camouflage unit creating dummy tanks and other decoys in the desert. At the end of the War, he was posted to Germany to assist displaced persons.
Between 1946 and 1952, he produced a series of dust-jackets for editions of P G Wodehouse, as well as other authors, published by Herbert Jenkins Ltd. In 1951, with his brother Geoffrey Ford, he produced a children’s picture book, ‘Digby’s Holiday’.
Meanwhile, Frank Ford continued his career as an advertising artist (notably the Fremlin’s brewery ‘elephant’ campaign), and was for a while an art buyer for Everett’s advertising agency.
From 1958 until his death in 1970, he produced a weekly cartoon, ‘Minnie’, for ‘Woman’s Realm’ magazine, in parallel with, from the mid-1960s, doing social care work.