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Dick Francis. Horse Racing Author and Jockey to the late Queen Mother. Horseman and Welsh Gentleman

Updated on July 24, 2012

Horses for Courses. The exciting horsey stories by Dick Francis.

Dick Francis, himself in later years
Dick Francis, himself in later years
An Audio Book of one of Dick Francis' exciting stories. Makes a journey fly by!
An Audio Book of one of Dick Francis' exciting stories. Makes a journey fly by!
The Grand National Scene of Dick Francis the jockey, as a Jockey for the Queen Mother. A daring and exciting race.
The Grand National Scene of Dick Francis the jockey, as a Jockey for the Queen Mother. A daring and exciting race.

Dick Francis, Author Jockey and Celebrity

One of my favorite authors died today, St Valentine's Day 2010 at the age of 89. I picked up one of his books at the airport bookshop to read on my flight. I remember wondering how he was doing as I had been reading his thrillers for so many years, most of my life in fact, two weeks later I was saddened to hear of his death.

Dick Francis was born in Tenby in South Wales, the son of a horse dealer and trainer. He spent some years in the RAF as a fighter pilot, but on retiring from that he became a jockey. He eventually became the Jockey for the Queen Mother, the mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth currently on the throne. That combo was best known for the sad occurrence during the 1956 Grand National when his mount, Devon Loch stumbled and collapsed only 25 yards from the winning post. Devon Loch recovered but poor old Dick Francis never won the prestigious Grand National which is one of the most testing races over jumps. He was a close friend of the Queen Mother and was a prominent mourner at her funeral. Queen Elizabeth made him an OBE, Order of the British Empire.

His first book was his autobiography, "The Sport of Queens" this lead to him becoming the racing correspondent for a major British newspaper, the "Sunday Express"

He became a thriller writer and published a book a year, his first being "Dead Cert" published in1962. He published a book every year for the next 38 years. In later years writing with his two sons, Felix and Merrick. His books generally revolved around the world of horses especially racing. He wrote 42 books in total. I loved reading about his insight into the racing, horse world.

Dick Francis retired to the British Cayman Islands and was buried there. A Memorial service was held in London attended by Racing Celebrities. Dick Francis brought so much pleasure to so many people. His knowledge of horses and the racing scene was second to none. Just reading his books gave you an insight into the sometimes devious world of racing, i loved the tales of intrigue woven around the horse scene. I read them all, proud that he was a Welshman. He will be sorely missed. RIP.

Watch the exciting video to see the sad collapse of the great horse Devon Loch.


Some of his many Books

Dick Francis

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    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for dropping by Barbsbitsnpieces. I love them too!

    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 6 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @Gypsy Willow...Love Dick Francis novels! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for the kind comment Enelle. I was so saddened when I heard the news. I am glad you liked the tribute.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      I was shocked to read of Dick Francis' passing. I adored his books and was thrilled when I discovered he had come back after the death of his wife. He will be sorely missed :(

      Thank you for this tribute.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks Zsuzsy, I love his great stories especially as horses are involved. He was a great writer and a good man.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      There was a time, quite a few years ago, when I couldn't get enough of Dick Francis books. I own quite a few of them, I think I will dig them out and start to re-read them.

      Great hub, Gypsy Willow, a nice tribute to a great writer.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks Dim. He was a good man.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Lovely tribute. Niceley done. x

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi D.A.L. I love reading his books too. I will revisit some of the old ones now. He will be sorely missed. Thanks for coming by.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Feline Prophet, thanks for commiserating. I love his peep into the world of racing.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hello Hello hello, thanks for the kind comment. Sad we have lost him.

      Thanks Micky, he surely was a great Welshman

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Nice deication to a fine man who has provided many enjoyable hours for me by way of his excellent books.Thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my tribute to him

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      Sorry to hear about his passing. His books are most entertaining - he had such a wonderful style. I have always enjoyed the way he brought alive the British racing world through stories of murder and mayhem.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 8 years ago

      Great man. Great hub. Thank you.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      I have read some of it and I was spellbound. He certainly had a way of writing to hook. Well written tribute. Thank you.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I know, scarytaff, I was devastated when I heard the news. He has left us a lovely legacy though,hasn't he? Thanks for dropping by.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 8 years ago from South Wales

      I read a lot of the books he wrote. I have a collection of Book Club books with some of his work in them. A sad loss.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Itakin, I have to admit that I read most of his books a while back and I was surprised to see it for sale in Los Angeles Airport. They are still as good as ever. thanks for dropping by.

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 8 years ago from Irl

      Sad to hear this-I went through a protracted Dick Francis reading phase as a student-I haven't read one for years,but I really enjoyed them when I did.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Nobody really knew what the cause was, Dick Francis thought the roar of the crowd put him off but there are other theories. His horsey mysteries are great. I bought the book in LAX on the way out. Thanks for commenting.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Very nice contribution. Why did Devon collapse like that? Was the horse hurt? I have never read this author, but I can relate how I felt when Roddenberry died. Have a great flight Gypsy.

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