Name:James Whaley Fryer
DoB: February 25 1892
Regt: Second Lieutenant, 22nd Battalion (Tyneside Scottish), Northumberland Fusiliers
DoD: July 1 1916
Academic Career: CGS 1905-1910
James was the only son of Major James Whaley Fryer (1871 Census records his father’s parents as Hamilton and Isabella Gregson) and Edith Fryer (nee Hindhaugh) of “Kingarth”, 5 Moorside, Fenham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. They also had a daughter, Dorothy Elizabeth Fryer (b. 1893).
The family lived at Rookhurst, Hawes, Yorkshire. They later lived at Dean Park Lodge, 31 Dean Park Row, Bournemouth.
James was educated at Yorebridge Grammar School, Hawes, Yorkshire and Giggleswick School from 1901 to August 1905. He entered Carlisle grammar school in September 1905 and left in 1910. He was a member of the school debating society and was the proposer in the debate “that a reduction in the strength of the navy is a national menace”.
James joined the Northumberland Fusiliers shortly after the outbreak of war and went to France on January 10 1916. The local paper (Yorkshire), the Craven Herald reported on September 1 1916:
“FRYER – Formerly reported missing, now reported killed, Second-Lieutenant J. Whaley Fryer, Northumberland Fusiliers, only son of the late Major Fryer, Hawes.”
The same issue included:
“HAWES – MISSING OFFICER NOW REPORTED KILLED
Second-Lieutenant J. Whaley Fryer, Northumberland Fusiliers, only son of the late Major Fryer, Rookhurst, Hawes, and Mrs. Fryer, Moorside, Fenham, Newcastle, who was reported missing in the big push in July, is now reported killed. Mrs. Fryer has received the following letter from the captain commanding the company:-
“Whaley was in my Company, and I have been informed by some of the men in the Company that they saw him fall. It is very sad, but I am afraid he was killed; he fell just after he got over the top of the parapet. He was very well liked by all the men and also got on well with all the officers in the Battalion.”
He was apparently killed by a shell as he climbed over the trench parapet attacking La Boiselle. A file in the National Archives says he was seen with both his legs shot off, before noon. He cannot have lived very long after that.
His effects amounted to £605 0s 3d.
James was commemorated at Thiepval, but also on the family gravestone in St. Margaret’s Churchyard, Hawes, Giggleswick School War Memorial, Panels and a private memorial in St. Margaret’s Church, Hawes as well as the Carlisle grammar school war memorial.
A report from a Captain of the 22nd Northumberland Fusiliers that 65% of the men and 93% of the officers were killed that night.
James became an articled clerk to Messrs. Dickinson, Millar & Turnbull, solicitors, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had successfully passed his first examinations and was hoping to qualify his final when he joined the colours.
The Carlisle Grammar School Memorial Register Census 1911: RG14 30734; 1911: RG14 29445; 1881: RG11 4872; 1871: RG10 4871; Ken and Pam Linge Probate BRITISH BATTALIONS ON THE SOMME by Ray Westlake, Published by Pen & Sword Books Limited 1994