William Mayes Fry

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William Mayes Fry

Military Cross.jpg
William Mayes Fry c.1917 and Military Cross
Born (1896-11-14)14 November 1896
Ealing, Middlesex
Died 4 August 1992(1992-08-04) (aged 95)
Greenwich, London, England
Allegiance England
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Captain
Unit No. 11 Squadron RFC, No. 12 Squadron RFC, No. 60 Squadron RFC, No. 23 Squadron RFC, No. 79 Squadron RAF
Awards Military Cross
Other work Rose to Wing Commander, then served in RAF from 1939 to 1945

Captain William Mayes Fry MC, RAF (14 November 1896 – 4 August 1992) was a World War I Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force fighter ace. He was credited with eleven aerial victories, piloting no fewer than four different types of fighter plane. William Mayes Fry also has the distinction of being one of the few World War I airmen to survive to the 1990s.

World War I[edit]

Mays served in the infantry before transferring to the RFC in December 1915. On 7 June 1915 Fry was appointed a Temporary Second Lieutenant.[1] After his transfer to aviation, he piloted Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2s in the beginning, for 12 Squadron, then for 11 Squadron through the Battle of the Somme. His C Flight was then put into 60 Squadron.[2] He scored his first win on 2 May 1917; two days later, he shared a victory with Billy Bishop. His fifth victory, an Albatros D.III driven down out of control on 16 June, was split with Keith Caldwell.[3] During this time, he flew Morane-Saulnier Is and Nieuport 17s; another of his squadronmates was Albert Ball.[2] On 16 August 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross:[4]

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion duty. Diving to a very low altitude, and under heavy fire, he emptied all his ammunition into the retreating enemy. During the last month he has brought down four hostile machines. He has done consistent good work as a pilot."[5]

After a transfer to 23 Squadron as Flight Commander of C Flight, he used a Spad VII for wins on 20 November and 12 December 1917. He upgraded to a Spad XIII for his next win, on 4 January 1918. Two days later, he was back in a Spad VII, hunting in company with Frank Granger Quigley. They jointly shot down and killed Pour le Merite winner Leutnant Walter von Bülow-Bothkamp. Fry would score once more in a Spad XIII, flaming an Albatros on 23 January. He then switched into 79 Squadron. There he marked his last victim, using a Sopwith Dolphin to down a Fokker Triplane on 11 May 1918.[2] For his final tally, besides destroying the two enemy fighters in company with Bishop and Quigley and flaming the Albatros, Mays had destroyed two other enemy planes, captured one, and driven down four others.[3]


Fry remained in the RAF postwar, rising to Wing Commander before retirement.[2]

In 1924 Fry became engaged to Katherine Mary Carrington, the daughter of Major General Sir Frederick Carrington, KCB, KCMG.[6]

Fry returned to service for the duration of World War II, serving from 1939 through 1945.[2]


  1. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". The London Gazette (Gazettes-online.co.uk). 9 June 1915. 
  2. ^ a b c d e SPAD XII/XIII aces of World War I. p. 22. 
  3. ^ a b "William Mayes Fry". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Recipients - World War I Aces". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". The London Gazette (London-gazette.co.uk). August 16, 1917. 
  6. ^ "Flight 31 July 1924". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  • SPAD XII/XIII aces of World War I. Jon Guttman. Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN. 1841763160, 9781841763163.

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