1. Memorial:Tower Hill Memorial London
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.122
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour35C GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

Son of the late Henry William and Julia Fryer; husband of Mary Ann Fryer, of Marjorie Villa, Grange Rd., East Cowes, Isle of Wight. Born at Yarmouth.

Mariner, East Cowes (1893).

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: SS Bulgarian 

Mike: Daring deeds of merchant seamen in the great war - Wheeler, Harold F. B 1918 The Arabic, a White Star liner of 15,801 tons gross, was torpedoed without warning in August, 19 15. The total number of those on board was 429 ; of these 390 were saved, and thirty-nine reported as missing. Considering that only ten minutes elapsed between the liner being struck and her disappearance from mortal ken, it reflected the greatest possible credit on Captain W. Finch and his crew that in so short a space of time rafts were got out and fourteen boats lowered. Unfortunately two of the latter capsized. The raft is probably the oldest form of shipping known to man. It has certainly come into its own again as a life-saving apparatus. The Arabic was bound for New York. She was proceeding at about i6| knots off the Fastnet Lighthouse, four miles south-west of Cape Clear, at the extreme south-west of Ireland, when she met with disaster. A few minutes before some of the horrified passengers had seen a ship assume a heavy hst, and then go down bows first. This proved to be the s.s. Dunsley, which had already attracted the notice of the sea wolf. Despite the greatest possible vigilance no one seems to have actually seen the submarine, although the captain on the bridge observed the torpedo speeding in the direction of the ship when it was some 300 feet away. The submarine had evidently taken up an excellent position on the starboard side, for the missile was coming at right angles, and struck the vessel about 100 feet from the stern. The explosion that followed not only worked havoc below, but blew one of the lifeboats to something closely resembling matchwood. Captain Finch and the Arabic went down together. On coming to the surface the officer found himself surrounded by a mass of wreckage. Although one of his legs was injured by a piece of floating timber, he assisted a couple of firemen and a lady with a baby to get on to a raft that was drifting near-by. Miss Stella Carol, the well-known soprano, endeavoured to keep up the spirits of her companions in one of the boats by singing to them, and she also lent a hand with an oar. Women have acquitted themselves with strength in open boats on the high seas during the war. The captain paid high tribute to the efficiency and bravery of the engine-room staff. In his opinion they were worthy of twenty Victoria Crosses. Third Engineer London, who was responsible for the carrying out of the orders from the bridge, went to his death standing at his post. The merchant navy (Volume 2) - Hurd, Archibald, Sir The chief officer and the second officer were on watch on the bridge of the Arabic when the sinking Dunsley came into sight. The master of the Arabic (Mr. W. Finch) concluded that the Dunsley had been torpedoed, so he altered course about three points to the southward, intending to keep well clear of the area in which a submarine might be lurking. For some time the liner continued on her new course, still zigzagging, and a wireless message was promptly dispatched notifying the fate which had overtaken the Dunsley. No submarine, however, was seen at this period either from the bridge or by the lookout men. The passengers and others who were watching the Dunsley sinking lower and lower in the water were hoping that after all the Arabic would escape molestation, when the ship was shaken from end to end by an explosion, the wireless-room being wrecked and the aerial carried away. The second officer (Mr. F. F. Steele) had just moved to the starboard end of the bridge when a line of air-bubbles on the starboard bow, about 100 yards away, caught his attention. He instantly realised that a torpedo had been discharged at the liner, and he shouted to the master, " Here he is, sir. He has let go at us. Hard a-starboard ! " Captain Finch, who had also observed the menacing streak, at once gave orders for a full head of steam and the helm was put over. Everyone on board who was aware of the impending crisis anxiously waited to see if the ship would clear the torpedo. Doubt was quickly resolved, the vessel being struck aft, almost abreast of the jigger mast. The Arabic was doomed ; the second officer put the engine-room telegraph to " Stop " and then to " Full speed astern" so as to get way off her, and thus enable the boats to be launched. Captain Finch, noticing that the ship was beginning to list to port, ordered everyone to the boats, for there was no time to be lost. It is unnecessary to describe the scene on board when the passengers, who included a large number of women and children, realised that within a few minutes the Arabic would probably sink. The sequel showed that the ship had been well organised for an emergency ; while o—f the crew of 243, 21 lost their lives, only 18 passengers 12 cabin and 6 steerage—were reported missing, so efficiently and quickly were the boats swung out, lowered, and filled. Seeing that the time which separated the impact of the torpedo and the sinking of the Arabic amounted to only eight minutes, it was due to no act of mercy on the part of the enemy that the death-roll was not far greater. Captain Finch remained on the bridge directing operations for the saving of life, and when the Arabic sank, having righted herself before she plunged stern first, he went down with her. A few seconds later he rose to the surface, to discover that his vessel had completely disappeared. A man of robust build, of about seventeen stone, he managed to cling to a raft from which, exhausted though he was, he swam to a boat. He helped a fireman into her and then picked up a woman and a baby before he himself sought this poor means of safety. After another fireman had been rescued, the whole of the little company transferred to a lifeboat which was near-by, and Captain Finch took command of all the craft which were afloat among the wreckage. Mr. Bowen, chief officer, and Mr. Oliver, first officer, had also remained in the ship until the last, Mr. Oliver diving overboard from the forward part of B Deck on the starboard side, while Mr. Bowen slid down the after fall of No. 1 emergency boat, to be picked up by one of the boats already in the water. As soon as the engines had stopped, all hands left the stokehold except one man who was standing by the telegraphs and a junior engineer (Mr. P. G. Logan). No purpose was to be served in remaining, so they too began to climb up to the deck. What happened to the fireman is uncertain, but Mr. Logan escaped and was afterwards able to give an account of his experiences. He left the engine-room on the port side of the deck below the main deck. Securing a lifebelt, he ran along the port alleyway. When he had advanced a short distance, the water met him and he threw the lifebelt away, as it impeded his progress. At last he was able to reach the companionway to the poop, which was already three feet under water. On the starboard side a boat, with about a dozen persons in it, was already afloat on the falls, indicating the rapidity with which the Arabic was sinking. Mr. Logan unhooked the forward fall and a quartermaster released the after fall. The boat was thus got clear of the vessel, which disappeared a few minutes later. Just as the Arabic was sinking, Mr. Logan saw a collapsible boat with six or seven persons in her, who were apparently unable to control her. As the boat was only ten or fifteen yards away, he took off his boots and boiler suit and swam towards her, and then took charge. With the aid of his companions, he pulled towards the wreckage and fourteen persons were rescued from the water. In the meantime Mr. Steele, the second officer, had taken charge of No. 11 boat, which was safely lowered with thirty-seven occupants. The first officer had found temporary safety in this overcrowded boat, but a few minutes later he transferred to another, while the third officer went to a collapsible boat which was near-by. Apparently a large proportion of the deaths were due to the capsizing of No. 16 boat. This craft was drawn by the suction of the water towards the rapidly sinking Arabic, which had assumed an almost perpendicular position. A davit caught the boat and smashed it into pieces. Forty-two or forty-three people were consequently thrown into the water. An able seaman managed to reach one of the rafts, with which the White Star Line had recently equipped the Arabic as well as other vessels under their control, and from this position of comparative safety he effected a number of rescues. The carpenter of the Arabic, Norman MacAuley, was also responsible for saving a number of lives. As soon as the fate of the vessel was certain, he went to the saloon door on Deck C and assisted some ladies in putting on their lifebelts. He then plunged down to the after part of E Deck to investigate the damage which had been done there, but he was driven back by the flow of water. Going to the boat deck, he was able to give aid to a number of other lady passengers and subsequently returned to Deck C. He afterwards gave an account of his later experiences : " My boat station was No. 7. I helped people into No. 7 boat and then, as there were plenty of hands there, I assisted others into No. 5 and No. 3 boats. The water was now coming over the stern, and C Deck was submerged for a considerable distance. No. 3 boat was filled up, and as no passengers were to be seen on deck, I took my place in this lifeboat and kept her clear of the ship's side as she was lowered. The boat reached the water safely. My boat picked up two other persons—one steward and one passenger—after the boat had sailed four times through the wreckage."

Action : Naval Campaign 

Naval Campaign is defined as to include all sea operations where attrition rates are in ones and twos and which do not fall within specific naval battles such as Jutland, Coronel, Falklands etc. This includes Merchant Navy losses.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Osborne No. 2169 E.C.Hampshire & IOW

15th June 1893
7th December 1893
7th June 1894

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2018-04-06 15:11:12