Francis Sydney "Frank" Dove MM (3 September 1897 – 10 February 1957)[1][2] was a British boxer who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.[3] In 1920 he was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the heavyweight class after losing his fight to the upcoming silver medallist Søren Petersen. After the outbreak of World War I, Dove joined the British Army and won the Military Medal for bravery during the Battle of Cambrai (1917).

Frank Dove
Francis Sydney Dove

(1897-09-03)3 September 1897
London, England, UK
Died10 February 1957(1957-02-10) (aged 59)
Wolverhampton, England, UK
Known forBritish Olympic boxer
RelativesEvelyn Dove
Mabel Dove Danquah (sisters)


Frank Dove was born of mixed race in London; his English mother Augusta, née Winchester (3 March 1877 – 31 January 1947),[4] was from Sussex, his father Francis (Frans) Thomas Dove (c. 1869–22 August 1949)[5] was from Sierra Leone, where he was a highly respected barrister. Frank's younger sister was singer and actress Evelyn Dove.[6][7][8]

In 1910 he was sent to Cranleigh School, where he was one of the school's first black pupils. A successful sportsman there, he was in the 1st XI for football and cricket and was Hon. Secretary of both sports. He was also one of the two gymnasts who represented Cranleigh at the Public Schools Gymnastic Competition at Aldershot – at the time a major event that Cranleigh had won five times, most recently in 1913 – where the school finished third overall. The school magazine said he was "a versatile member of the community both academically and athletically".[9]

He left in July 1915 and went on to Merton College, Oxford,[10] where he was reading law in November 1916 when, aged 19, he was called up for service and enlisted in the British Army, giving his home address as Brighton. He joined the Royal Tank Corps in "E" battalion, where initially he served as a dispatch rider (under Second Lieutenant Johnson), and subsequently fought at the battle of Cambrai in 1917, winning the Military Medal for his bravery at the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917. In June 1918, aged 20, Dove joined the Cadet Unit of the RAF.[11][12]

After being demobbed in 1920, he returned to Oxford. While there he boxed for the university and also for Great Britain at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. He continued to box while practising as a barrister and was still winning ABA divisional cruiser-weight championships in 1945, by which time he was 48.[9]

He died on 10 February 1957 after being involved in a traffic accident in Wolverhampton.[9] His story featured in Stephen Bourne's book Black Poppies: Britain's Black Community and the Great War, which was published in 2014.[12]


  1. ^ "Frank Dove" Archived 19 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine at Sports Reference.
  2. ^ "Francis Sydney Dove" at
  3. ^ "Frank Dove". Olympedia. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Augusta Dove" at Geni.
  5. ^ "Francis Thomas Dove" at Geni.
  6. ^ Stephen Bourne, "Dove, Evelyn Mary (1902–1987)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, January 2011.
  7. ^ Jeffrey Green, "Before the Windrush", The Black Presence in Britain, 26 September 2010.
  8. ^ Bernardine Evaristo, "Black Poppies: Britain's Black Community and the Great War by Stephen Bourne, book review", The Independent, 10 September 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "February 1916: People — Frank Dove", Cranleigh.
  10. ^ Levens, R. G. C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900–1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 106.
  11. ^ Nigel Browne-Davies, "Lieutenant Macormack Charles Farrell Easmon: A Sierra Leonean Medical Officer in the First World War", The Journal of Sierra Leone Studies, Autumn 2014, p. 4, note 8.
  12. ^ a b Stephen Bourne (2014). Black Poppies: Britain's Black Community and the Great War. History Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7524-9787-7.

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