Dr. Henry Kenneth FRY DSO

Badge Number: 21634, Sub Branch: Crafers

FRY, Henry Kenneth

Service Number: S100007
Enlisted: 24 August 1914
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 3rd Field Ambulance
Born: North Adelaide, South Australia, 25 May 1886
Home Town: Norwood (SA), South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, University of Adelaide
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Stirling, South Australia , 22 July 1959, aged 73 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Henley Beach Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

24 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1
21 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 3rd Field Ambulance
21 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 3rd Field Ambulance, HMAT Saldanha, Adelaide

World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Lieutenant Colonel, SN S100007
26 Jul 1942: Discharged
Date unknown: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lieutenant Colonel, SN S100007

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 Appointed captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps, Australian Imperial Force, on 20 August 1914, Fry sailed for the Middle East with the 3rd Field Ambulance. He was at Gallipoli in 1915 before being sent to France in March 1916 as deputy assistant director of medical services, 2nd Division...

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Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

Excerpt from Blood Sweat and Fears: Medical Practitioners and Medical Students of South Australian who Served in World War 1. Courtesy of the Authors


Henry Kenneth Fry was the fourth child of Henry Thomas Fry, a warehouseman, and his wife Margaret Hannah, nee Phillips. He was educated at Prince Alfred College and University of Adelaide where he excelled academically and at athletics, lacrosse and rowing. He graduated BSc (Hons) in physiology in 1905 and MB BS as Everard Scholar in 1908. His house surgeon year was at the Adelaide Hospital. He was Rhodes Scholar in 1909, and at Balliol, took another BSc and diplomas in Public Health and Anthropology. He returned to Australia and took up the post of Chief Medical Inspector of Aborigines in Darwin. 

Fry enlisted in the AIF as a captain in August 1914. He indicated 3 years previous experience as a private soldier in King Edward's Horse and as surgeon captain in 79 Infantry Bn. He was single at the time of enlistment and his brother, NS Fry of Henley Beach, was named as next of kin. He was 5ft 8ins" and weighed 144lbs. He sailed for the Middle East with 3 FdAmb in October 1914 on the Medic. He landed at Gallipoli, with his bearers at Ari Burnu, on 25th April 1915.  Surviving a storm of shots, he established his ADS in the vicinity of the Sphinx. He was later to establish ADS at Shrapnel and Victoria Gullies. As temporary major he was the Divisional Sanitary Officer from 3rd September 1915. He returned to Egypt in November with scurvy before returning to Gallipoli. Substantively promoted to major he was appointed DADMS for 2 Div. He served in this capacity throughout the battles of the Somme where he was decorated with the DSO for his achievements at Pozieres and Sausage Valley where he was constantly under shellfire superintending and arranging the evacuation of the wounded....throughout the campaign similar thoroughness of work has been his characteristic. He was promoted lieutenant colonel and given command of 13 FdAmb in October 1917. He married Dorothy Editha Deeley, during leave home, in the Church of the Epiphany, Crafers on 21st October 1918. He returned to France in December as honorary colonel, ADMS 5 Div. He had been Mentioned in Despatches 3 times. 

He returned to Australia and established a general practice in Eastwood; the practice had a laboratory, surgery and X-Ray facility. He was to develop three distinct strands to his remarkable career.  Firstly as a physician with an interest in therapeutics and psychiatry, secondly as an anthropologist and thirdly as a public health medical officer. He was initially honorary assistant physician at the Adelaide Hospital, later honorary physician; he lectured medical students in ‘materia medica’ and therapeutics (he wrote a small textbook on the subject).He promoted the use of the new antibiotic sulphonamides in the treatment of pneumonia and patients were admitted preferentially under his care.  He was awarded MD (Adel) and was a foundation fellow of the RACP. He was physician to the Parkside Mental Hospital. He was a member and later President (1939) of the Royal Society of South Australia, established with others, the Board for Anthropological Research, and participated in numerous medical, anthropological and ethnological research expeditions to central Australia. He was the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Adelaide for over 20 years. He promoted the concept of mass chest X-rays and formulated plans for implementation in Adelaide and later SA. He tried to enlist again in WW2 but his employer, the City of Adelaide, refused to release him.  Fry was a man of high ideals and filled several offices giving him opportunities of community service. He was a quiet, devoted and sincere worker and a sound and efficient administrator. Henry Kenneth Fry died on 22nd July 1959 and was survived by his wife, son and daughter.