Pilot Officer - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves - 156 Squadron - Service No. 156081
Francis John Fry was born on 24th May 1920 in Gravesend, Kent. His father was Francis Henry Fry, a Draughtsman, and his mother was Ethel May (née Saunders). The first school that he attended was Cecil Road School in Gravesend.
In 1930 Francis Fry joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Francis’ address as 55 The Avenue, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Francis was in Town House and was a Prefect in 1938-39. Younger brother Ernest (born 1928) also attended the School and was Senior Prefect in 1945-46.
In 1938 Francis left the School and studied for a BSc in Economics at Westminster Training College. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves Service Number 156081, training to fly at 36 Service Flying Training School in Penfold, Alberta, Canada. He flew with 101 Squadron, before joining 156 Squadron as a Pilot Officer.
In August 1942 Squadron 156 joined No 8 Group RAF and became one of the original Pathfinder squadrons. Converting to Lancasters in January 1943, the Squadron flew from RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire. On 8th October 1943, 21 aircraft took off, the target was Bremen and Hanover. Francis Fry’s plane failed to return to base, he was 23 years old. He is remembered at Hamburg Cemetery, 10A. E. 14.
Francis’ Form had the highest number of students who lost their lives in World War Two. He share’s the Roll of Honour with Harold Ayliffe Elton Ede, John Foster, Gilbert Hall and Geoffrey Parritt.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: