1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fryatt, Charles

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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica
Fryatt, Charles
See also Charles Fryatt on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

FRYATT, CHARLES (1872-1916), British sea-captain, was born at Parkeston, near Harwich, Essex, Dec. 2 1872. He entered the service of the Great Eastern Railway Co., and in 1904 became chief officer in their service of vessels plying between Harwich and Rotterdam, in 1913 becoming captain. He continued to navigate his ship, the “Brussels,” to Rotterdam and back for the first two years of the World War. At the end of July 1916 it was announced that the “Brussels” had been captured and the captain himself arrested and tried by court-martial on a charge of having attempted on March 28 1916 to ram the German submarine U33 near the Maas lightship. The German authorities stated that Captain Fryatt had confessed during his examination that he had acted under orders from the Admiralty, but the trial was suspiciously hurried and secret, an application for postponement being refused, and no intervention on the part of neutrals was allowed. The captain was condemned to death and shot at Bruges July 28 1916. Half an hour after the execution had been carried out a telegram arrived from the army headquarters at Berlin ordering the sentence to be postponed. The news of the execution aroused great indignation in England, and on two occasions it was stated by Mr. Asquith in the House of Commons that due reparation would be exacted for this and similar murders. Ample provision was made for Captain Fryatt's family, his widow being awarded a pension of £100 a year over and above the amount to which she was already entitled under the Government compensation scheme, while the Great Eastern Railway Co. also gave Mrs. Fryatt an annuity of £250 a year for life. The captain's body was on July 7 1919 brought from Belgium to England. A memorial service was held at St. Paul's on July 8, and the body was buried at Dovercourt church, near Harwich.