The AIF Project

Donald Robert FRYER

Regimental number73
Place of birthWest Maitland, New South Wales
SchoolWest Maitland Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationCarpenter
AddressOakhampton Road, West Maitland, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20.3
Height5' 9"
Weight135 lbs
Next of kinFather, Edward Fryer, Oakhampton Road, West Maitland, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in 14th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces; still serving at time of AIF enlistment.
Enlistment date28 November 1915
Place of enlistmentWest Maitland, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name35th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/52/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 1 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll36th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death22
Age at death from cemetery records22
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
125
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Edward Hammond and Ada B. FRYER, Prince Street, Waratah, New South Wales. Native of West Maitland, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsCousins: 1042 Pte John Stewart GODFREY, 25th Bn, killed in action, 4 October 1917; 4474 Pte James Gray GODFREY, 3rd Bn, returned to Australia, 26 September 1916.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 1 May 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal to complete establishment, 23 June 1916.

Appointed Temporary Corporal, 12 July 1917.

Appointed Corporal, 23 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 12 October 1917.

Note, Red Cross File No 1120411A: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10-10-19.'

Statement, 38 Pte E.C. BRUCE, 35th Bn (patient, No 4 Australian General Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales), 14 October 1918: 'We were just going over during the battles at Ypres, when a shell fell near Fryer and killed him at once. He would be picked up by the stretcher bearers later on. I do not know where he is buried.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FRYER Donald Robert
Red Cross File No 1120411A

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