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Alan Barnett Fry [f.]

Alan Barnett Fry was the second child of Albert Edward Fry & Rose Marion Barnett born June 30th, 1915 at 10 Bentcliffe Lane, Leeds.

Alan went to Roundhay School, Old Park Road, Leeds. After leaving school he joined H.M. Customs and Excise. He married Evelyn Joan Welch at Newton Abbott, Devon on September 16th, 1939. Joan was the daughter of Thomas Henry Welch, a retired marine engineer & May Murley born June 13th, 1917 at Swansea. She was a domestic cook living at StMarychurch Rd, Torquay. Alan (24) was a customs officer living at 54 Grove Park , London at the time of the marriage.

During the war Alan joined the RAF. He was a bomber pilot (Lancasters mostly), ending the war as a Squadron Leader and Commanding Officer of 76 Staging Post, RAF CMF at Tunis. He kept his flight logs and was thus able to prove that he was the very first pilot to drop food for the residents of occupied Holland during Operation Manna at the end of the war.

Alan was awarded the DFC ‘in recognition of numerous operations against the enemy, in which he invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage & devotion to duty’.  (Yorshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, September 29th, 1945)

Family wedding c1947 - from left: Stella & Peter Horton with sons John & David, Alan & Joan Fry holding hands of daughter Jennifer, Rose Marion Fry wearing flowered hat.

Recollections of Alan by his son Desmond are as follows:

‘After the war Dad briefly returned to his civvy job in customs & excise, before rejoining the RAF as a flying instructor and almost immediately posted out to Southern Rhodesia for 3 years (at the reduced rank of Flt/Lt). I was always told that this was mainly for my benefit as I was critically ill at age seven with polio encephalitis. When I eventually recovered, the doctors recommended a warmer climate. That may be so, but I know my parents loved it out there and didn't want to return to UK. Dad spent some years at RAF Debden, near Saffron Walden in Essex where he was Flight Commander of Flying Wing. He had to give up flying at age 45 and then became an air traffic controller and posted to West Berlin, where he worked at the International Air Safety Centre. Here he worked with the Americans, Russians and French ATCs. He was there when the Berlin wall went up and at the height of the cold war (1960-63). At one point in time, the only place where the Russians talked to the west was at the Air Safety Centre (they had to, to avoid mid air collisions). Returning to the UK he was posted to RAF West Drayton (near Uxbridge) and finally to RAF Martlesham Heath. I don't think he really liked this, so he eventually resigned his commission and for a short while became a life assurance salesman for Peter McCrae & Partners. Shortly after this he joined the civil service as an Executive Officer and was posted to GCHQ Cheltenham. He soon realised that he was not best suited to that kind of work and so moved to CTS Bletchley Park (still working for GCHQ). When he retired (1975 I believe), mum and dad moved to South Africa and lived at Margate, near Durban. Eventually mother insisted on returning to the UK (shortly after the world fuel crisis). This was a bad time to do this and they lost most of the equity they had in the house etc. Returning to the UK they lived for a while in their daughter Jenny's house in Salisbury, also at Middle Winterslow and Fordingbridge. Eventually they moved to Lincoln and bought a bungalow at Doddington Park.

After dad was hit by a hit-and-run driver his health deteriorated. Then mother's memory went and senile dementure set in and it was clear they could no longer manage on their own. Jenny moved them to Crowthorne to be near her and eventually they both had to move into a nursing home, where they were able to share a room.’

From left: Alan, daughter-in-law Kathlyn, Joan, visiting sister & brother-in-law Stella & Peter Horton at Copperfield, Lincoln c1983

Alan died November 3rd, 2004, aged 89 at Birdsgrove nursing home, Bracknell.

Joan died November 22nd, 2009, aged 92, at Poole, Dorset.

The children of Alan Barnett Fry & Joan were:

f. Alan Desmond Fry born at 90 North Park Ave, Leeds
f. Jennifer Fry
f. Stephen Geoffrey Fry born at Leeds


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