Sam Browne belt : Flying Officer W H Fysh, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Palestine
Accession Number REL/01357
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Brass, Leather
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Brown leather Sam Browne belt with brass fittings and shoulder strap. The belt is fitted with a double clawed brass buckle, and has a brass stud and sliding leather loop to locate the free end of the belt tongue. A pair of reinforced brass 'D' rings are attached to the top edge of the belt, one at the left front, the other at the left rear, for location of the shoulder strap. A further two pairs of 'D' rings are located on the lower edge of the belt, at the left hand hip. Inside the belt marked in ink is 'H. FYSH AFC'.

History / Summary

Sir Wilmot Hudson Fysh was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 7 January 1895. He was educated at Launceston Grammar School and Geelong Church of England Grammar School. Fysh had already served as a cadet with the 70th Infantry Militia and had volunteered with the Tasmanian 26th Light Horse when the First World War was declared. He enlisted on 25 August 1914 with 3 Light Horse Regiment (3LHR), as did most of Tasmania's Mounted Infantry, at the training camp at Pontville, Tasmania.

415 Trooper Fysh embarked from Hobart aboard HMAT Geelong on 20 October 1914, trained in Egypt and served at Gallipoli from May 1915 until the evacuation. He served in Sinai and Palestine with 'C' Squadron, 3LHR, until 17 July 1916, when he transferred to 1 Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron where he was soon promoted to corporal, and, by January 1917, to lieutenant.

In early July 1917 he applied for a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and was assigned to 67 Squadron (later 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps), and qualified as a gunner/observer by October 1917. Fysh's application for pilot training was accepted, but the war ended before his graduation at Heliopolis, Egypt, in February 1919. Flying Officer Fysh was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross on 8 January 1919.

After returning to Australia in March 1919, Fysh was employed to survey the Longreach to Darwin leg of the proposed air route from England to Australia. This knowledge assisted him when, in 1920, he helped to found the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (QANTAS). By 1923 he was both managing director and chief pilot of the airline, which he led until his retirement in 1955. Hudson Fysh was knighted in 1953, and died in Sydney in 1974.