The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1704) Second Lieutenant Sydney Charles Fry, 8th Training Squadron, AFC, First World War

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England, Gloucestershire, Leighterton
Accession Number PAFU2014/238.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 16 July 2014
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Robyn Siers, the story for this day was on (1704) Second Lieutenant Sydney Charles Fry, 8th Training Squadron, AFC, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

Second Lieutenant Sydney Charles Fry, 8th Training Squadron, AFC
Accidentally killed 24 August 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 16 July 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Sydney Charles Fry.

Sydney Fry was born in Maitland, New South Wales. He attended the Boys’ High School in East Maitland and was a member of the 6th Australian Light Horse in the Citizens’ Militia. After school he worked as a shop assistant in his father’s business. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915, two months before his twentieth birthday.

Fry wanted to join the fledgling Aviation Corps, and underwent the examination. Although he passed, it was some time before he could leave with that unit. He was “anxious to get to the front as early as possible”, and so he transferred back to the Light Horse and left Australia for Egypt on 2 November 1915. While in Egypt he transferred to the artillery and was eventually posted to the 5th Divisional Ammunition Column. There he served as a driver and later as a gunner for 15 months.

In August 1917 Fry’s application for a transfer to the Australian Flying Corps was successful, and the following April he went to Oxford as a cadet. He attended a number of flying bases in England for his training in the following months. In July 1918 he finally achieved his long-held ambition when he was promoted to second lieutenant and pilot.

On 24 August 1918 Lieutenant Fry was piloting a Sopwith Camel from Leighterton in Gloucestershire. The aircraft had reportedly not been going well from take-off, and at 300 feet it started cutting out. Although Fry attempted to turn back towards the aerodrome the plane stalled and went into a spin, crashing into the ground. Fry suffered severe head injuries, and was found dead in the wreckage. His commanding officer reported that the accident was not the result of any wrongdoing by Fry, but was caused by failure of the aircraft.

Lieutenant Fry was accorded a full military funeral at the Leighterton Cemetery with a firing party and bugler. Family and friends from Australia sent wreaths and his friends from the squadron served as pallbearers. In memory of their friend, comrades from the Australian Flying Corps made a photo frame from the wrecked plane’s propeller and sent it back to his family with a photo of Fry in it.

In Australia a large congregation assembled at the West Maitland Methodist Church for a memorial service for Lieutenant Fry. During the service he was spoken of as a
young man full of “brightness, fearlessness and devotion to duty by which he won popularity as a soldier abroad”. Sydney Fry was 22 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial’s collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Sydney Charles Fry, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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