FRYER John Edmund 29746

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant John Edmund FRYER

Service No: 29746
Born: Claremont WA, 6 March 1909
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 January 1941
Unit: No. 10 Squadron, RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth
Died: Air Operations: Crisis in the Atlantic (No. 10 Squadron Sunderland aircraft W4020), North Atlantic, 1 August 1943, Aged 34 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edmund James Fryer and Margaret Fryer; husband of Zoie Tijou Fryer, of Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 192, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

On 1 August 1943 while Flight Lieutenant Fry (No. 10) was cooperating with 2nd Escort Group in this same area he saw a U-boat travelling surfaced at ten knots in a very rough sea only six miles from the sloops. He swung immediately towards the enemy and flew overhead, then made a tight turn to port to attack from the U-boat’s starboard quarter against very accurate fire. His starboard-inner engine was hit, and when the Sunderland closed to 400 yards a shell exploded in the starboard main fuel tank and petrol flooded the bridge. All three pilots were probably seriously wounded at this point but Fry with supreme determination pressed home the attack. The tail gunner saw the U-boat enveloped in the explosion plumes and then sink bows first. The Sunderland maintained course for about six miles, turned towards the ships and plunged into the sea, bouncing twice before settling heavily into the 15-foot swell. Meanwhile HMS Wren turned immediately to help the crashed aircraft. When it arrived ten minutes later all that remained was a stump of the mainplane with five of the crew clinging to it while a sixth man was seen swimming a quarter of a mile away. It was too rough to launch a boat even after oil had been pumped into the sea, but five men were hauled aboard by lifebelt and a seaman dived overboard and supported the other who was near exhaustion . Fry himself, whose indomitable spirit and skill combined to make this attack under conditions which might well have daunted the bravest heart, did not survive; but those members of his crew rescued soon learned that U454 had been broken in two and had sunk within thirty seconds.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 443

The crew members of W4020 were:

Flying Officer Hamilton Roland Dacre Budd (416307) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Donald Ian Conacher (420734) (Air Gunner) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 27 February 1946
Flight Sergeant Phillip Edward Cook (405965) (Radio Operator) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 30 June 1945
Flying Officer John Maxwell Curtis (410218) (First Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Gregson Fry (407057) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant John Edmund Fryer (27964) (Fitter IIA)
Sergeant Jack Haslem (41635) (Armourer) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 August 1945
Sergeant Herbert Berry Lydeamore (27964) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Frederick Olaf Pettersson (17142) (Second Flight Engineer) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 28 May 1946
Flying Officer John Hereford Portus DFC (407932) (Navigator) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 August 1944
Flight Sergeant Ronald Gifford Welfare (416911) (Radio Operator) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 24 September 1945
Flying Officer Arthur Maurice Welch (418026) (Second Navigator)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/14/76
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Ashworth, N. (Norman) The ANZAC Squadron: A history of No. 461 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Hesperian Press Victoria Park WA 6100, 1994
Baff, K.C (Kevin), Maritime is Number Ten, K.C. Baff Netley SA, 1983
Joubert, P.B. (Sir Phillip Bennet) Birds and Fishes: the story of Coastal Command, Hutchinson and Company London, 1960
Southall, I.F. (Ivan Francis) (418900) They Shall Not Pass Unseen, Angus and Robertson Sydney NSW, 1956
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992