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Frederick Samuel Fry [f.]

Frederick Samuel Fry was the second child of Albert Edward Fry & Harriett Annie Grove born Oct-Dec, 1880 at Hartfield.

In 1881 he was living at home at Brookshill Farm, Hartfield.

Just after his father’s death in 1890, the following year Frederick was living in Croydon with his ‘aunt & uncle’ – Robert Hubbard & Elizabeth Mays, who were in fact Harriett’s aunt & uncle.

Frederick enlisted with the Royal Sussex Regiment in September 1898 at age 18.

In 1901 Frederick was living at Kingston-by-the-Sea with Herbert Summarsell, a 23 year old market gardener, & his sisters Bertha, (26, a housekeeper) & 19 year old Lillian Summarsell, a milliner – children of Anne Fry & Henry Summarsell (Anne Fry & Frederick’s father Albert Edward Fry were cousins). Frederick was listed as a soldier in the 1st Royal Sussex Regiment.

The civil registration records of Ireland show that Frederick married Alice Maud(e) Witkowski in 1908 in Belfast. Alice was born December 10th, 1882 in Rangoon, India, the daughter of Sarah Anne Prior & William Ludolph Witkowski, a sergeant in the Royal Artillery who was based at the Military Barracks in Sheerness, Kent at the time of the 1881 census. Alice was christened on December 27th, 1882 in Rangoon.

The 1911 census of Ireland shows Alice living at the Curragh Military Camp, Kildare, but husband Frederick (recorded as Colour Sergeant, Royal Sussex regiment) was not present on the night of the census.  They had 2 children at this time – Frederick, aged 2 & Edith, aged 1. 

In 1912 Frederick was a witness at the wedding of his brother Albert Edward Fry to Rose Marion Barnett at Reading. At that time Frederick was a company sergeant in the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Frederick (Photo courtesy of Debbie Prout)

Frederick was in B Company, 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment during the 1st World War. He was a Company Sergeant Major at the time that he was killed in action on September 25th, 1915 while fighting in France. He is commemorated at the Loos Memorial of Commonwealth War Dead, near Lens, France. He was 35 years old. Frederick was awarded the Victory Medal, the British Medal & the 1914 Star with clasp adorning the ribbon. His widow, Alice, was living at 4 Dromore St, Cregagh, Belfast, Northern Ireland at that time. Administration of Frederick’s will was granted in Belfast, Ireland to widow Alice on February 16th, 1916 when his effects were £330.6s. (It was noted that Frederick was late of 20 Mount Collyer Avenue, Belfast.)  Administration was granted in London to Alice on February 24th, 1916, & his effects were stated to be £326 in England.

Dud corner cemetery, Loos, where Frederick is remembered

(Photo courtesy of Debbie Prout)

Thanks to the work of James Castle, the names of Frederick & 14 other residents of the village of Hartfield have recently been added to the War Memorial in the High St, Hartfield, Sussex.  Frederick’s name is now mentioned every year at the Remembrance Day service in Hartfield.  ( )

An obituary for Frederick recorded that ‘he was one of the original 2nd Battalion that left Woking at the outbreak of war.  He was keenly devoted to sport & discovered the capabilities of late Sgt G.W. Hutson to whom he acted as trainer before Hutson went on to become professional.  Frederick was a good shot & represented the regiment in nearly all shooting matters.  His Company was undoubtedly the best all-round Company in the Battalion.’

Frederick Samuel is also commemorated on the headstone of his son John who died at just 16 years of age & who is buried at Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital, Millbank, London.

The 1939 register shows widowed Alice living with her daughter-in-law Olive Rosina, wife of Albert Percy Fry, at the Drill Hall, Uckfield, Sussex.


The children of Frederick Samuel Fry & Alice Maud(e) Witkowski were:

f. Frederick William Fry born April-June 1909 in Belfast, Co Antrim, Ireland

f. Edith Mary Fry born Jan-March 1910 at Naas, Co Kildare, Ireland
f. Albert Percy Fry born September 7th, 1911 at Curragh, Co Cork, Ireland, died August 1989 at Plymouth, Devon
f. John S Fry born Oct-December 1912 at Farnham, died May 9th, 1929 in London


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