|Memorial .||Dovercourt (All Saints) Churchyard||Harwich|
Awards & Titles:
|Order of Leopold (Belgium) |
Belgian Maritime War Cross
Early Life :Born at Southampton, the 3rd child and 2nd son of Charles and Mary J.B. Fryatt. Living at 22 Trinity Crescent, Southampton (1881). His father was a mariner, himself born Canvey Island, Essex. Siblings: John (b. 1865, Ramsgate), Elizabeth A. J. (b. 1865, Harwich), William P. (b.1877) and Mary C. (b.1880). William and Mary both born in Southampton.
Family :Married in 1896 to Ethel nee Townend. She is from Hull born 1868, with that the marriage taking place in Sulcoates E.Yorkshire. The family home became No. 9 Brooklyn Road, Dovercourt. Whilst Charles was on board ship (the RMTS Munich) in 1911, the rest of the family are recorded on the 1911 census. Olive (b.1898), Victoria (b.1900), Doris (b.1903), Vera (b. 1905), Mabel (b.1907) and Charles (b.1911). Dorothy Ada Mary was born later in 1913.
Education & Career :Chief Officer - 1906 - Employed by the Great Eastern Railway 1st Mate Packet Ship - R.M. Turbine Ship Munich, captained by L. Richmond and which was at Parkeston transporting passengers on or just before the census of 1911.
Unit : SS Brussels
Action : Naval Campaign
-On 28 March 1915 Captain Charles Fryatt, a British merchant captain, attempted - but failed - to ram and sink a German submarine, U-33. This came in the wake of repeated attempts by the German navy to sink his vessel - the Great Eastern Railway Steamer Brussels sailing the Rotterdam/British east coast route. Hailed by the Allied nations as a hero - it was variously believed that he had succeeded in his patriotic act, Fryatt was officially rewarded by the British government for his actions. Fryatt was however taken prisoner by the Germans on a subsequent voyage and charged with being a franc-tireur - a most serious charge and one that carried the death sentence. So began a war of words between the German and British governments over his case. Britain argued that Fryatt had been acting in self-defence, while Germany maintained that Fryatt's action in attempting to ram U-33 was undertaken without provocation. In the event Fryatt was tried and convicted by a German court and executed on 27 July 1916. The case achieved widespread notoriety in Britain and Captain Fryatt's name - and face, in newspapers, magazines and even bookmarks - was celebrated throughout Britain. Also see STAND TO! No 85 P.35 Source; The merchant navy (Volume 1) - Hurd, Archibald, Sir The month of February 1915 furnished another conspicuous example of British seamanship.! On the 17th the Colchester, which had already been under attack, again escaped from the enemy when on passage from Parkeston Quay to Rotterdam, Captain Charles A. Fryatt, who afterwards became the victim of one of the foulest crimes committed by the Germans, having in the meantime succeeded to the command. During a southerly gale, with heavy seas and thick rain, a submarine was sighted about two miles ahead of the ship. The submarine was steering about W.S.W. and the British vessel E. J S. Captain Fryatt had only a moment in which to decide what he should do. In a report to the British Consulate at Rotterdam he explained how, by prompt action, he had saved his ship : I at once altered my ship's course until her head was north-west by the compass on the bridge, so I brought the submarine right astern of me, and I ordered the chief engineer to get all the steam he could and get all the speed he could with the engines, and after about fifteen minutes steaming north-west, I lost sight of the submarine in the thick rain. I then brought my ship gradually back to her course again E. J S., and proceeded on my passage, and I never saw the submarine again. IBID The experience of the Wrexham attracted the attention of the Admiralty owing to the spirited manner in which the enemy was eluded. The Wrexham (master, Mr. Charles A. Fryatt) 1 was one of the Great Eastern Railway Company's vessels, running between Harwich and Rotterdam, and this further attack on a ship of this line supports the belief that the enemy was endeavouring to cut communications between England and Holland. The submarine appeared at thirty-five minutes after noon on March 2nd, when the Wrexham was approximately in lat. 51 50' N., long. 3 0' E. The enemy circled to the northward, and then made towards the British ship. Captain Fryatt immediately altered course to south-east by south, and ordered the engineer to increase speed to the utmost. Deck hands were mustered and sent below to assist the firemen, everyone realising that a chase for life had begun. Under ordinary conditions the Wrexham was capable of about 14 knots. But, in the face of such a peril, she was soon travelling at nearly 16 knots through the heavy, northerly swell. In these circumstances the chase continued, the submarine in the meantime flying imperative signals. Though the weather was fine and clear, Captain Fryatt kept his ship so far away that the signals could not be read. No doubt they were calling upon him to stop, but this was the last thing he had in his mind, as the Wrexham slowly drew away from the submarine. The British skipper had to exhibit a high standard of seamanship owing to the proximity of the Schouwen Bank on his starboard hand. The course was altered time after time so as to keep the enemy on the port beam (abaft), and at a distance of about one and a half miles. For about forty miles the Germans maintained the chase, and only abandoned it when the Wrexham had approached within a mile of the Maas light-vessel. The incident provided a fine demonstration of British seamanship and British pluck. In making his report to his owners, Captain Fryatt remarked : Had it not been for the good work put in by the engineers and the men firing, and the speed they were thus able to get up, I could not have escaped, as the submarine was doing well over 14 knots and chased us for about forty miles, only giving up when we were safe in Dutch waters. The Admiralty commended the conduct of the master, officers, and crew of the Wrexham, laying special emphasis on the spirit exhibited by the engine-room complement ; the chief engineer, Mr. F. A. Goddison, was mentioned in the London Gazette. 1 Captain Fryatt (whose spirited action on February 17th has already been mentioned) was taken prisoner by the Germans on June 23rd, 1916, when in command of s.s. Brussels, and afterwards shot.
Naval Campaign is defined as to include all sea operations that do not fall within specific naval battles such as Jutland, Coronel, Falklands etc. This includes all Merchant Navy losses.
Citations & Commemorations :Posthumously awarded the Order of Leopold and the Belgian Maritime War Cross.
|Type||Lodge Name and No.||Province/District :|
|Mother :||Star In The East No. 650 E.C.||Essex|
8th May 1906
8th November 1906
12th February 1907
The registers of United Grand Lodge show in its records that Charles Algernon Fryatt was initiated into Star in the East Lodge No. 650. (some transcriptions show as Tryatt). Although Fryatt's death is well documented, his record shows he "Died 28th Dec 1916 In arrears". It is possible this is either a mistake against the wrong person because of the incorrect date of death noted, or perhaps that the situation was not clear through the course of 1916. It seems difficult to reconcile this as a Lodge mistake considering that Fryatt is noted as a hero in Harwich, on the Great Eastern Railway and by politicians of the day.
The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- The (UK) National Archives
- Ancestry.co.uk - Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History online
- ugle.org.uk - The records of the United Grand Lodge of England including the Library and Museum of Freemasonry
- Book : 1921 - Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918 - Oxford University Press
- Document : 1933 - Masonic Roll of Honour - Freemasons' Hall Vestibule - United Grand Lodge of England