Mr. Frank Zych

MR. Frank Zych, who has died aged 86, fled from the communist authorities of post-war Poland and eventually settled in Ardglass where he became a legend of the fishing industry.

He was known as ‘Frank the Pole’ and was regarded with affection by the people of Ardglass and the fishing communities of Portavogie, Kilkeel and further afield.

He, in turn, loved Ardglass and never wanted to live anywhere else. He said he came to Ardglass with nothing and was wholeheartedly embraced by its people.

Mr. Zych was born in 1927, the son of a coal miner and nephew of a butcher. He was a young man, barely in his 20s, when he was coned into the Polish army. Having no love for his country’s communist rulers, he decided to escape to the West. Legend has it that he did so on a fishing boat.

He arrived in England and soon discovered that there were few jobs for a man with no grasp of the English language. He became a fisherman in Grimsby and soon got a job with a Danish fisherman, who was married to a woman from Whitehaven in Cumbria.

He moved to the Whitehaven area where he married and settled. While in Whitehaven he met George McDonagh, an Ardglass man, who was to be his lifelong friend and who advised him to move to Ardglass, where he was to remain for the next 51 years.

He bought his first fishing boat from Clogher Head, Co. Louth, and fished out of Ardglass for the rest of his life with his sons, Tony and David, and later by a third generation of the family.

Mr. Zych loved fishing and his family. He had time or inclination for little else. His favourite pastime was to walk along the harbour and chat with young fishermen. He also enjoyed having a coffee with his best friends, George and Harry.

He was a man of simple tastes, who enjoyed his life and was grateful for what he was given. The large turnout at the funeral service in St. Nicholas’ Church last Friday was testimony to the respect in which he was held by many people. The service was conducted by Fr. Derek Kearney and the Rev. Graham Savidge and was followed by cremation at Roselawn.


The sympathy of the community is extended to his sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the family circle.