Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Executed by the Germans

Many years ago, I bought two mounted photographs of the repatriation of Captain Charles Fryatt who was executed by the Germans during the First World War. I recently rediscovered them

Wikipedia tells me that Charles Algernon Fryatt (2 December 1872 – 27 July 1916) was a British mariner who attempted to ram a German U-boat in 1915. His ship, the SS Brussels was captured by the Germans in 1916. When it became clear who he was, Fryatt was court-martialled and executed, although he was a civilian. There was international outrage following his execution. In 1919, his body was exhumed and given a funeral with full honours in England.

In 1919, Fryatt's body was exhumed and returned to the United Kingdom for burial. His coffin was landed at Dover, and transported  to London. On 8 July, his funeral was held at St Paul's Cathedral. Hundreds of merchant seamen and widows of merchant seamen and fishermen attended. Representing the Government were many members of the Admiralty, the Board of Trade, the Cabinet and the War Office.
The band of the Great Eastern Railway, augmented by drummers from the Royal Marines played the Dead March, Eternal Father, Strong to Save and Abide with Me were sung and a blessing given by the Bishop of London. The route of the coffin to Liverpool Street Station was lined with people. Fryatt was buried at All Saint's Church, Upper Dovercourt. His coffin was carried from the station to the church on a gun carriage. His widow was presented with the insignia of the Belgian Order of Leopold which had been posthumously awarded to Fryatt. He was also awarded the Belgian Maritime WarCross. Click on the two photographs for a closer view.



The coffin containing the body of captain Fryatt on the quarterdeck of the
Destroyer HMS Orpheus during the crossing from Antwerp to Dover

Merchant Marine Captains who acted as pall-bearers at the Memorial Service to Captain Fryatt at St Paul's Cathedral

And thanks to Wikimedia and Creative Commons, here are three connected images:

A studio portrait of Capt Fryatt

The SS Brussels sank off the Zeebrugge Mole

The Fryatt Memorial at Liverpool Street Station in London
Photo: Stzhang



5 comments:

Charles Cowling said...

Brilliant account, great photos. Thanks!

Holisticrocs said...

Liverpool Street is the end of the line for me from where I live, so next time we do London by train, I shall look out for this one.
Thanks Laurie

Owen said...

Quite a bit of courage necessary to try to ram a u-boat... incrediblme. Happy he could come home finally. Just a shame it had to be in a box. They could have just jailed him.

Laurie said...

Thanks, Charles.

Hope you make it, Holi'

I guess they wanted to make an example of him, Owen.

Prasetyo said...
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