Monday 17 March 2008 by Amanda Rebbeck. 3 comments
Aircraft 1914 - 1918, Personal Stories, Collection, First World War, Training, Heraldry, Private Records

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. 

REL/15078 A piece of Second Lieutenant Gulley’s seat harness after his aircraft crashed in England on 17 October 1918. NB the burn marks from the fire are still visible.

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.


stephen brown

Really intrigued and surprised to see this blog and this image as Second Lieutenant Gulley was my grandfather (he died in the late 1980s at about 90 years old. I have seen his service records which indicated that his disability was being assessed and reviewed well after WW I. He returned to his hometown Kyogle in NSW, married and had three children. In WW II he was in the RAAF reserve, I think, as an AA observer. Despite his burns he lived an active life and was a local pillar of the community. He was a member of a local band into his 60s at least, and played the tuba. He also played grade cricket till about the same age and a Kyogle cricket ground was named after him.

Greg Dominish

Greg Dominish says: FTD Gulley was the son of Frederick William Gulley, son of Frederick Burgess Gulley (mayor of Casino, NSW). F.B. Gulley was also my great-great grandfather (also yours, Stephen, I believe). I actually met Luke Gulley this week in Brisbane - he is also descended from FB Gulley via Frederick William - do you know him? My great-grandfather George Gulley (also the son of FB Gulley) also served in WWI and WWII, but from what I can gather, didn't serve with any particular distinction...

Louise Coman

What a great epilogue to this story. As a history teacher I Adam doing a unit specifically on Australian aviators in WW1. As many came from AIF and Lighthorse it will be a privilege to share this story with my budding aviatiors of the future:)