I first met Franklyn at a Bristol meeting of the British Flying Saucer Bureau (BFSB f. 1953) back in 1976, I think. I was speaking to a few people and grabbed a break when this short, skinny chap wearing a Russian style fur hat came up to me. Someone said to me:"That's Franklyn Davin-Wilson" and then moved off. Franklyn stretched out his hand and beamed a huge smile -displaying a large set of canid teeth. I shook his hand and said "Fox teeth aren't they?" His smile grew as he popped out the false set of teeth he had a dentist make from fox teeth. "I like you!" he said. Apparently people normally gasped or backed off when he gave them his vampiric smile!
Franklyn had become interested in UFOs reports after leaving the army in the 1960s and reading the accounts of astronomers and astronauts about their own encounters. A former Bristol Grammar School student (the BGS seemed to spawn, uh, "eccentrics"!) he was a founding member of the British Computer Society as well as a keen astronomer. Franklyn was a constant ally while I was at the BFSB as a committee member and later editor of its UFO News Bulletin and his support continued on into the days of UFO International. Along with Dennis Cowdy, a founder in 1952 of Manchester Flying Saucer Research, Franklyn was at the core of the Anomalous Observational Phenomena Bureau and Project Grey Book.
Franklyn advocated that every published UFO account should not be accepted as suitable for inclusion unless there was a second or third source -even then, the more sources the better and if you could check the report yourself -much better. This has stuck to me every day since.
In the mid-1970s Franklyn even advocated the use of computers in UFO reports analysis and also for the analysis of UFO photographs. He did design a computer card system for BUFORA but they seemed to drop the idea.
His specialist field of research were Signals From Space, Astronomers and UFOs, Unidentified Orbital Objects and photographic analysis.
Franklyn could be somewhat fractious at times when dealing with fools and although interested in the possibility, after speaking to Leo Sprinkle at a BUFORA Convention (scribbled on a margin of the notes of his meeting is :"The Day Mountbatten was murdered") on retrievals of crashed "flying saucers", Franklyn was in two minds because "so many of the buggers are supposed to have crashed!"
As seemed to be his wont, Franklyn often set me off on searches and some lasted decades -"The Vampiric Sheep Killer of Badminton" started after Franklyn mentioned the case featured in The Books Of Charles Fort and thirty years later I wound the whole mess up and even discovered a lynx had been shot at the time. The full story can be found in The Red Paper: Canids. The other little mystery that took up many years was "The Dead Aquatic Creatures Of Canvey Island" -again, detailed in Some Things Strange & Sinister.
There are others but I still keep busy on those.
On New Years Eve, 1983, Franklyn felt unwell and went to bed. He died of a heart attack caused by a possible blood clot. He was around 43 years old. He was the third member of the AOP B to die of a heart attack (Dennis Cowdy was the first) but his loss was deeply felt and his research notes are still with me. Every new years eve at Midnight I remember the old sod.
But oh those wild goose-chases and the chase across Cradle Hill after a 'UFO' will always be in my mind.