Claremont / Main Rd, Claremont TAS 7011, Australia
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Gordon Leonard FRY
Posted by FrevFord, Friday, 21 July 2017
Born on the 22/8/1893 in Hobart, Tas – son of Alfred Henry and Blanche Kathleen (nee Staples) – who married on the 6/2/1889 at St Andrew’s Church, Hobart, Tas
Addresses: 1914: Ross St New Town, Tas & 63 Warwick St, Hobart; 1915: 173 Harrington street, Hobart
Alfred (Groom / Coachman) died 7/6/1951 Tas, in his 81st year
*Alfred Cyril Vernon Seymour b.20/4/1890 Tas – (Horsebreaker, heavily tatooed) – WW1: enlisted as Colin Edward Stuart, also giving false details of birth, NOK etc – see letter from his mother p.57 of his SR: https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=8095441
[see notes for more detail]
*Eric Lionel b.15/11/1891 Tas – (Butcher) – WW1: Pte 1210, 12th Bn / 52nd Bn; enl 20/9/1914 – WW2 – d.1959
*Norman Clyde b.c1895 (Cabinetmaker) – exempt from WW1 service: “On the ground that he was the sole support of his parents, and an infant brother. Three brothers had enlisted.”
Possible Occupations: Bootmaker / Cook / Parcels Clerk at Messrs Brownell Bros
*Originally enlisted as Gordon Leonard Fry on the 20/8/1914 Tas – giving his occupation as Bootmaker – but discharged Medically Unfit 14/10/1914
*Re-enlisted 2/12/1914 Tas as Leonard Fry – giving his occupation as a Cook (and birthplace as Cairns, Qld)
Sailed as Private 1518 with the 2nd Reinforcements of the 12th Battalion, (3rd Bde) on the A46 Clan McGillivray 2/2/1915 for Egypt
Admitted to Mena House Hospital in March 1915 with Pneumonia, followed by Bronchitis, after catching a chill during a night spent in the desert – discharged to the Convalescent Hospital at Abbassia at the end of April
Proceeded to Gallipoli in May to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), and taken on strength of his Unit 31/5/1915
Admitted to No.1 Field Ambulance, Anzac 27/8/1915 with Diarrhoea and transferred the same day to the 25th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) at Imbros – taken on board the hospital ship Gascon 28/8/1915 (Dysentery), and arrived Alexandria, Egypt 1/9/1915, where he was admitted to No.1 Australian General Hospital (AGH), Heliopolis on the 2/9/1915
Discharged from hospital 11/10/1915 and rejoined his Unit at Sarpi Camp, Mudros 27/11/1915 – admitted to the 3rd AGH, Mudros 25/12/1915 with Varicose Veins – and discharged 8/1/1916
Returned to Alexandria on the Carisbrook Castle 11/1/1916 and rejoined his Unit at Tel-el-Kebir 15/1/1916
Transferred from the 12th Battalion to the 52nd Battalion, (13th Brigade) 1/3/1916
Embarked at Alexandria on the Ivernia and proceeded to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 5/6/1916 – disembarking at Marseilles, France 12/6/1916
Having been granted UK Leave until 26/12/1916, he was admitted to King George Military Hospital on the 16/12/1916 for medical treatment
Admitted to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital (AAH), Southall with Laryngitis 1/1/1917 to 3/1/1917 (AWL overnight of the 2/1/17)
Marched into the No. 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs on the 5/1/1917
Transferred to No. 4 Command Depot, Wareham 16/3/1917
Transferred from the 52nd Battalion to the 69th Battalion 23/3/1917, and then back to the 52nd Battalion on the 11/8/1917 and marched out to the Overseas Training Depot
Proceeded overseas to France 20/8/1917, and finally rejoined his Unit on the 16/9/1917 in billets at Dennebroeucq
Admitted to hospital with Pyrexia 9/1/1918 to 21/1/1918, and rejoined his Unit at Ridgewood Camp in Belgium on the 2/2/1918
Wounded in action on the eve of 24/4/1918 during the advance to recover Villers-Bretonneux, receiving a GSW to the right knee, and sent through the hospital system to the 73rd General Hospital, Tronville, 28/4/1918 – then to 1st Australian Convalescent Depot, Havre 13/5/1918 – Base Depot 8/6/1918 – returning to his Unit 12/6/1918
Transferred from the 52nd Battalion to the 51st Battalion 18/6/1918
Wounded for the second time on the 10/7/1918 whilst in reserve trenches at Hamelet, receiving shell wounds to the head, face (eyes) and hand, and transferred through the hospital system to the 16th General Hospital, Le Treport on the 14/7/1918
At the beginning of August it was decided to move him to England and he was embarked on the hospital ship Warilda on the 2/8/1918. Unfortunately in the early hours of the 3/8/1918 as the Warilda was crossing the English Channel, it was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC49. Of the 801 on board, 123 lost their lives, but fortunately he was amongst the survivors.
Later that same day he was admitted to the 2nd London General Hospital at Chelsea, before being transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield on the 21/9/1918.
Blinded as a result of his injuries, he was transferred to St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blind Soldiers at Regents Park on the 7/10/1918. At St Dunstan’s he learnt Braille and Typewriting as well as being fully trained in Boot repair, and Mat and Net making – skills that would allow him to earn a living after the war.
During his time there he was granted various periods of Leave and also found love.
On the 25th April 1919 at St Martin’s Church, Marylebone, he married Edith Louise CRIMP
The couple returned to Australia together on the Ormonde, embarking 16/6/1919, and disembarking in Melbourne on the 1/8/1919
Returning to Tasmania, he was finally discharged from the AIF on the 22/10/1919
Robin Colin; Stanley Gordon (Storeman); Frederick Lionel (Mechanic)
50 Giblin St, Moonah, Tas in 1922 – no occupation
631 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds, Vic 1926 – Repairer
Dandenong Rd, Frankston 1927 – Bootmaker
2 Gooch St, Armadale 1931 – Matmaker
23 Queen St, Bentleigh 1934, 1937 – Nil occupation (also Robin Colin)
31 Carlyon St, Bentleigh (Ormond) 1942, 1949 – Matmaker (1942: also Stanley Gordon – Storeman, & Frederick Lionel - Mechanic) (1949: also Joan Marjorie, Stanley Gordon – and no Edith Louise)
Member of the Caulfield branch of the R.S.S.&A.I.L.A.; and of the Victorian Blinded Soldiers’ Association
Died on the 28th of June 1949 at the Alfred Hospital after being hit by a truck in Prahran, whilst crossing to the footpath from a tram
Cremated at Springvale Crematorium
Daily Post (Hobart, Tas), Fri 11 Jun 1915 (p.7):
WITH OUR BOYS
Mrs B. Fry, of 173 Harrington street, Hobart, has received the following letters from her son Gordon, in Egypt: –
Mena Hospital, April 20, 1915
Dear Mother – Just a line to let you know the reason I have not written lately. Well, I am very sorry to tell you that I have nearly gone to the pack, having had a severe attack of pneumonia followed by bronchitis, and I tell you I have been dead crook. Not only that, Lieutenant Fuller and the rest of the boys have moved out to I don’t know where, so I am absolutely on my own, and will have to follow on with some other lot when fit, which will be a long time, as I am just learning to walk, but pleased to say the doctor says I am a marvel. He never thought I was ever going to get up at all, any how I have had four weeks in bed, so you might imagine I am very weak on it. What I blame for the attack was getting an alarm at midnight and had to march through the desert for about an hour and had an attack and had to be on the sands so as not to be seen, and got a chill. – From your loving son, Gordon.
Another letter written later reads: –
Dear Mother – I am getting along very well now, and will be going to Abessia [sic] Convalescent Hospital when I pick up a bit more. I think I will be attached to Charles Panley’s lot. I believe they are there; if so it is a dead cert, Mother. Harry Irwin is like myself, had something wrong with him, but he is on the mend. I got a shock when I saw him, and he did when he saw me, as we were all but shadows. Harry has a Tassy nurse, Sister Jessop, from Bellerive.
A later letter, dated May 2, reads: –
Dear Mother and Dad – I am now feeling in good order and fair condition. I was discharged from Mena Hospital on Sunday last, and was taken by the Australian Red Cross motor (which absolutely knocks the English and New Zealanders out completely) to Abessia [sic] Convalescent Hospital. Well, I stayed there till Thursday (four days) when our wounded arrived. It made me feel sick to think of it, and it also (owing to cold feet) made others feel worse, so I came out to join up to serve the Turks their gruel like my mates did, and don’t worry, I think I can and will in about a week. Reg Patson is paralysed owing to a shell bursting by his side. He was not hit, but concussion was the cause. I heard from one of Eric’s pals that he is alright. – Yours, Gordon.
Daily Post (Hobart, Tas), Thur 23 May 1918 (p.6):
MEN AND WOMEN
News has been received that Private Gordon Leonard Fry was wounded in action in France on the 13th inst. Private Fry has been on active service three years and nine months, joining up at the golf links on August 6, 1914, with his brother, Private E.L. Fry, who is still on service. Another brother, Sergeant C.V. Fry, joined up at Townsville, Queensland, in 1914, and was in the landing at Suvla Bay on August 8, 1915. Private Fry belongs to the 52nd Battalion (late 12th), and has been right through from Gallipoli, and took part at the evacuation, and has seen much service in France, escaping unscathed until the 13th of the present month. He is the third son of Mr and Mrs Fry, of 173 Harrington street. He will be better known by his comrades as “Turko,” having been once taken by a West Australian guard for a Turkish spy, but was claimed by his officer, and told not to roam so far again. Before enlisting he was parcels clerk at Messrs Brownell Bros.
Warilda: Torpedoed and sunk by submarine UC 49 in the English Channel, off Le Havre, enroute to Southampton in the early hours of the 3rd August 1918
Of 801 on board, 123 lives lost (700 patients)
Extract from a letter written by Warilda survivor Daisy E.C.A. Dobbs – Nurse, TFNS:
“A sad fate awaited the boys on the lower deck, the torpedoes (for we were struck twice) had blown away the gangways so that no help could reach them, …………………… These men who were trapped were convalescent, and although eye cases and were able to help themselves, the water rushed in and they were drowned.”
[Source: Scarlet Finders: http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/155.html ]
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas), Tue 4 Feb 1919 (p.3):
ST DUNSTAN’S HOSPITAL FOR BLIND SOLDIERS
A TASMANIAN PATIENT
Mr and Mrs Fry, of 173 Harrington-street, have received information from London that their third eldest son, Gordon Leonard, was in the torpedoed hospital ship Warilda, when crossing the English Channel, the boat being sunk. Private Fry was badly wounded in France on July 10, 1918, and was amongst the blind soldiers saved from the Warilda, nearly all the others being drowned. He is at present in St Dunstan’s Hospital for the blind. He has been on active service four years and six months. He has two other brothers who have seen the same amount of service, both being Anzacs, Private E.S. Fry [sic] and Sergeant C. Fry. These two brothers have been right through without a wound. Mr and Mrs Fry have received the following letter from Sir Arthur Pearson, Bt., G.B.E., chairman of St Dunstan’s Hospital for Blind Soldiers: –
Dear Mrs Fry – I am writing to tell you that your son was transferred to us from the 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea, on the 7th of last month. He has, as I expect you already know, been so unfortunate as to have his eyesight badly damaged at the front. You will be glad to hear that he is bearing the burden which has been placed upon him with great courage and fortitude, and has, I am pleased to say, already recognised the fact that there are many worse things that can befall a man than blindness. I am blind myself, and, therefore, speak with exact knowledge when I say that I feel sure your boy has a happy, busy, and useful life before him, in spite of the heavy handicap under which he must go. Please accept my sincerest sympathy in this trouble which has befallen you, and always regard me as one anxious to do everything possible in my power to help you and your son. The War Office has deputed me to look after all officers and men whose eyesight has been badly or irreparably damaged during this war, and I have made arrangements for their benefit, of which I enclose you full particulars. We have already trained twenty-four Australians, who have since returned to their homes in Australia. All these men did extremely well here, and will, I am sure, lead independent, useful, happy lives in Australia. I hear from them all frequently, and they are all doing very well indeed. We also have 38 Australians under our care now, in addition to your boy, so that with so many fellow-countrymen around him he will not feel that he is among strangers. Your son is taking up boot repairing and net making, at which I am quite sure he is going to do very well. We have trained many men as boot repairers and net makers, all of whom are earning excellent money, and making a good job of it in every way. He is also learning Braille reading and writing and typewriting, which are accomplishments he will find most useful to him in his altered condition of life. I am having sent to you each month a copy of the “St Dunstan’s Review,” which I hope you may like to read. With renewed expressions of my very hearty sympathy, which, however, I should like to qualify by congratulations upon your boy having escaped with his life, and without a worse form of disablement.
The Age (Melb, Vic), Wed 29 Jun 1949 (p.7):
Blind Ex-Soldier Killed by Truck
Gordon Leonard Fry, 55, of Carlyon-street, Ormond, a blind ex-serviceman of World War 1, was killed late yesterday when he was struck by a truck in High-street, Prahran.
Mr Fry had stepped off a tram and was crossing the street toward the footpath when the accident occurred.
Taken to the Alfred Hospital with head injuries, he died shortly after admission.
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Thur 30 Jun 1949 (p.10):
FRY – The Funeral of the late Mr GORDON LEONARD FRY, late 12th Battalion, 1st A.I.F., leaves the Bathurst Memorial Chapel, corner Glenhuntly and Kooyong roads, Elsternwick, TOMORROW (Friday), after a service commencing at 9.45 a.m., for the Springvale Crematorium.
FRY – Members of the Caulfield branch of the R.S.S. & A.I.L.A. are respectfully requested to follow the remains of their esteemed member, ……………………………
FRY – Members of the Victorian Blinded Soldiers’ Association are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of their late Comrade, …………………………..
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas), Thur 30 Jun 1949 (p.17):
FRY – On June 28, 1949, as result of accident, Gordon Leonard, of Ormond, Melbourne, third son of Mr and Mrs A. Fry, late of New Town, and brother of Cyril, Eric, Clyde, and Robin.
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas), Fri 1 Jul 1949 (p.17):
FRY – On June 28, 1949, Gordon Leonard, loving son of Alfred and Blanche. Anzac, First World War, 12th Battlion. Late of Ormond.