The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3048) Lance Corporal Thomas Edward Fryer, 54th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2016.2.257
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 13 September 2016
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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (3048) Lance Corporal Thomas Edward Fryer, 54th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

3048 Lance Corporal Thomas Edward Fryer, 54th Battalion, AIF
KIA 19 July 1916
Photograph: P07521.001

Story delivered 13 September 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Thomas Edward Fryer.

Thomas Fryer was born in Lithgow, the third of six children of Richard and Alice Fryer. He attended the Mittagong Public School as a child. In 1899 his father died, and five years later his mother was remarried to Thomas Hudspeth. In due course, Thomas Fryer would have three more sisters.

In 1905 the family moved to Leura in the Blue Mountains. Fryer left school and became a carpenter and builder. He built his family a home in Leura called “Coo-ee”.

Fryer enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. It was his second attempt to enlist after being turned down for bad teeth. A month after his successful enlistment he married Ethel Smith, and shortly afterwards he was sent to training camp.

After a period of training in Australia, Fryer was sent to Egypt, where the AIF was undergoing a process of expansion and training. He was posted to the 54th Battalion, and in March 1916 was promoted to lance corporal before his battalion was sent to France to fight on the Western Front in June 1916.

The 54th Battalion’s first involvement in a major operation was an attack on German positions near the French village of Fromelles. The attack was a disaster. The 54th Battalion, at the forefront of the assault, lost 65 per cent of its fighting strength in casualties.

One of those casualties was Lance Corporal Thomas Fryer. Initially reported as missing, an investigation quickly revealed that he had been killed within minutes of the assault going ahead. Private Miller, a member of the Lewis Gun section of the battalion, wrote that Fryer had been killed by machine-gun fire about ten yards from the German trenches. His body was never identified. He was 25 years old.

In the house he built in Leura, a large portrait of Fryer dominated the main room until his mother’s death in 1952.

He is commemorated at VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial in France. His name is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Lance Corporal Thomas Edward Fryer, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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