Frank 'Joe' Jenner

Bill Curtis

Frank Lewis Jenner was born in Westerham in 1902, the third son of six surviving children. His parents Edward and Sarah lived at Valence Lodge, where his father was a domestic coachman and later chauffeur for the Watney family.

Joe had always had a keen interest in motor transport and before his first car, he had gone through several motorbikes, both off and on-road.

During Ernest Blackton’s time in the late 1920s, Wolfe Garage had run a taxi service from the Kings Arms yard.  Len Skinner working at Wolfe Garage at that time, remembers the young Frank Jenner joining the garage around 1925 as a taxi driver alongside Ron Wells.

When Harry Bond took over the proprietorship of Wolfe Garage in 1929 some changes were made, and the taxi service was shut down. Frank ‘Joe’ Jenner raised some backing to continue the business as his own, along with his brother Arthur. There was clearly demand for the work, as he was still running the service some forty-five years later.

It appears that Frank Jenner gained an introduction to Churchill as early as 1922, when the Churchill’s were temporarily living at Hosey Rigge, awaiting the finishing of structural alterations to Chartwell, their recently purchased home. Jenner was summoned to the house where Churchill asked if he could be driven to London. Only too pleased to oblige, Jenner must have made a good impression, as he was to remain principal chauffeur to Downing Street and Westminster until that last journey to Sir Winston’s London home, 28 Hyde Park Gate, in October 1964. Sir Winston passed away in January 1965.

Joe Jenner and his brother Rob on Joe’s 1924 350cc Raleigh in Tunbridge Wells

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