Fraser, Air Mechanic Class II George Henry (2025)

Australian Flying Corps

George Fraser was born in Bendigo, Victoria on 12 March 1881, and was working as a Motor Mechanic in Melbourne when he enlisted in the AFC at the Show Ground Camp, Sydney, in March 1917. He was sent to Laverton before he left Melbourne on HMAT A68 Anchises on 8 August, and served with the AFC in England as well as at the RAF’s No 1 School of Navigation and Bomb Dropping at Stonehenge.

In November 1919 he was due to return to Australia by ship, but was granted permission to participate in the England-Australia Air Race as the mechanic in Martinsyde Type A Mk I G-EAMR – a two-seat long range adaptation of the F4 Buzzard design - flown by the Australian Capt C E Howell DSO MC DFC (who was credited with 19 victories while flying with No 45 Sqn RFC/RAF in Italy). Fraser was the oldest competitor in the race, and was flying in the fastest aeroplane. The aeroplane left Hounslow on 4 December, but both crew members drowned when the aeroplane crashed into the sea near St George’s Bay, Corfu, during a storm the next day. The wreckage of the aircraft was found, but there was no trace of the crew. The British Consul on Corfu reported that the Italian authorities commenced to recover the aeroplane wreckage, but apparently abandoned the project when it became clear that the aeroplane was not Italian. Capt Howell’s body was found in the sea two weeks after the crash, but AM Fraser’s remains were never located.

AMII G H Fraser has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, England.

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