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Fry, Walter Burgess

Major Walter Burgess Fry is reported to have died of typhus fever as a prisoner of war at Wittenberg, in Saxony, on March 17th, 1915. He was educated at St. Thomas's Hospital and took the diplomas of M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P.Lond. in 1900. He entered the R.A.M.C. soon after and attained the rank of major on December 21st, 1911. He was taken prisoner on the retreat from Mons. Six months later an epidemic of typhus fever occurred among the British soldiers who were prisoners of war at Wittenberg, and several officers of the R.A.M.C., who were also detained as prisoners, volunteered to attend the sufferers. Major Fry had given particular attention to the study of trypanosomes and tropical affections. In 1910 he contributed with Mr. H. G. Plimmer, to the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London a paper on the experimental treatment of trypanosomiasis, and in 1911 a paper on the same subject to the Journal of the R.A.M.C. In that year he became protozoologist and assistant bacteriologist to the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories at Khartoum. His first contribution to the reports of those laboratories (1911) was on animal trypanosomiasis in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. In 1913 he published, with Captain H.S. Rakes, V.C., who died in France on September 25th, 1914, from wounds received a few days before, the result of further researches on the extrusion of granules by trypanosomes and their further development. It was published, with a note on methods by H. G. Plimmer, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society (June 12th, 1913). The last paper by Major Fry of which we find record is one on antimony in the treatment of syphilis, published in the Journal of the R.A.M.C. for 1914. British Medical Journal 26 Feb. 1916


First name(s)Walter Burgess
Date of birth1877
Place of birthBromley District
Family detailsSon of Lewis I and Isabella C Fry. Home address in 1895 - 24 Montrell Road, Streatham
CollegeSt Thomas' Hospital
Dates at college1895-1900
Dept / courseConjoint Diploma
QualificationsM.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. 1900
Military unitR.A.M.C.
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Date of death17 March 1915
Age at death37
Rank at deathMajor
Place of deathWittenberg Camp
Cause of deathTyphus Fever
Burial placeBerlin South-Western Cemetery
In Memory of Major Walter Fry, Captain S. Field [St Mary's Hospital] and Captain Sutcliffe, Who Died At Wittenberg
To the Editor of the "St.Thomas's Hospital Gazette"
Sir, - I venture to trespass on your valuable space, as I cannot but think that many of us feel deeply that some memorial should be put up to the memory of the three brave doctors who died at Wittenberg Camp of typhus, while doing their utmost to alleviate the terrible sufferings and misery of which we have all read, with a thrill of horror, from the reports of Captains Priestly-Vidal and Lauder.
His Majesty has voiced all our wishes, by the honours he has graciously bestowed on these gallant men, who mercifully survived, and we now feel that the names of those who died should be remembered in the years to come. I think we shall all agree that if possible the memorial should take the form of helping to alleviate suffering and do some permanent good, but that must necessarily depend on the amount received. I will gladly receive and acknowledge the smallest sums, as I feel all men and women will wish to join in honouring the memory of such men.
Yours, &c., Constance Parker of Waddington, Aldworth. Haslemere, Surrey, May 5th, 1916St Thomas's Hospital Gazette, June/July 1916
Wittenberg 1914-1915
A Monument in the form of an obelisk has been erected by subscription among the British survivors of Wittenberg Camp to the memory of their comrades who died there. From the date on one of the wreaths it appears to have been completed on July 20th, 1916. Three separate views of the monument have lately been received in England. The cost of the obelisk was £80, which was subscribed by the comrades of those who died largely as the result of the inhuman neglect of the German Kommandantur. The cruel story is too well known to need repetition, but an almost cynical touch is added by the wreath inscribed: - "Kommandantur des Gefanagenenlagers Wittenberg." From the fact that three separate views have reached England it has been possible, by means of a lens, to compile a full list of the 68 martyrs whose deaths are recorded.
One side of the shaft is inscribed:- "In Memory of the British Officers, N.C.O.'s, Men and Civilians who died at Wittenberg, 1914-1915." Near the base are the words:- "Erected by their comrades." The principal side contains names that will always be proudly remembered by St. Thomas's men, namely, those of Major W. B. Fry and Captain A. A. Sutcliff. St Thomas's Hospital Gazette, March and April, 1917
SourcesSt Thomas's Hospital Medical School Records, King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; British Medical Journal

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