Stourbridge Statue To Be Unveiled As Prince William Visits The West Midlands

18 September 2018, 09:36

Prince William

A statue in Stourbridge is being unveiled in honour of a "modest" British spy whose courage and tenacity saved thousands of Jews from Nazi Germany.

Major Frank Foley was an MI6 officer who served in both world wars. He saved more than 10,000 people from persecution in Germany.

Exploiting his cover as a passport control officer at the British Consulate in Berlin during the 1920s and 1930s, he provided visas to those who feared persecution under Nazi racial laws and ultimately saved their lives.

The Duke of Cambridge is to unveil a statue in Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, the town where Mr Foley lived quietly during his retirement before he died in 1958.

A January 2018 statement from the Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6) was headlined: "Frank Foley, a true British hero; dignified, compassionate and brave."

It stated: "Frank Foley did not carry out his work for personal gain; he did not do it for national recognition. Indeed, many of those he saved knew nothing of the quiet, unassuming British man at the consulate who saved them. Amongst the many thousands he saved were the grandparents of an SIS/MI6 officer who is serving today.

"Frank Foley enjoyed almost a decade's peaceful retirement with his family in Stourbridge in Worcestershire before he died at home on May 8 1958 - the anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe.

"It was a typically low-key, unspectacular end to a life whose frequent dramas were a counterpoint to his quiet and modest personality. That recognition of his remarkable achievements came only after his death is surely the way he would have wanted it."

SIS chief Alex Younger described Mr Foley as a "modest man" whose "dignity, compassion and bravery are in no doubt".

He added: "While many condemned and criticised the Nazis' discriminative laws, Frank took action.

"With little regard for his personal safety, he took a stance against evil. Despite exposing himself to significant personal risk, Frank made a decision to help. He knew the dire consequences were he to get caught."

William is set to meet MP Ian Austin and representatives of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who have joined forces in spearheading a campaign to honour Mr Foley.

Earlier, William is also set to attend the first National SkillForce Prince William Award Graduation Ceremony at Birmingham University.

The scheme aims to help young people build their character, resilience and confidence.

He is also due to meet some of the families who use the Acorns Children's Hospice in Selly Oak.

The hospice's specialist facilities include a multisensory room and hydrotherapy pool. Acorns has provided care for more than 870 children and over 1,000 families in the 30 years since it was opened.