Crashes and fires were everyday hazards for the First World War flier. Second Lieutenant Frederick Gulley suffered both when trying to land his aircraft in England on 17 October 1918. Gulley was on a cross country flight and struck a post whilst attempting to land in a field close to Tidworth Barracks, Wiltshire. In the resulting fire Gulley’s clothes, harness, face and hands were burnt. He was taken to Tidworth Hospital with superficial burns to his face, neck and both hands, including all fingers.
Gulley was eventually discharged on 8 January 1919, as his burns had healed, but details included in his service record indicated he was still suffering from:
Considerable deformity of face - cicatrization around both eyes and both edges of his mouth. Thickening of scar on upper lip, the skin of both hands is ill nourished and there is cicatriculae of the little finger of his right hand which prevents extension of the digit.
These disabilities were noted as being permanent and in the future he would only be able to work at a 75% capacity.
Gulley had served in the infantry before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps on 25 February 1918 as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class. He was taken on strength of No. 6 (Training) Squadron AFC on 31 May and was appointed Flying Officer (Pilot) on 25 January 1919. Gulley returned to Australia aboard "Czaritza" on 16 March 1919.