The following obituary came from the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers (SMAE).
The last remaining contact with the SMAE council of the 1920s has gone with the sudden death of James Pelly Fry on December 6, aged 83. Inspired by the A.W. Siskins from RAF North Weald when 8, he was a total aviation person throughout his adventurous life. Through school days to his teens he produced a series of successful models, each illustrating his inventive originality. Low wing, geared motors, small sizes some of which were published in Model Engineer and the first Model Aeroplane Manual. In 1928, when the 139th member of the SAME, he was invited to join the council. One of his early contributions had been to help formulate the rules for the Wakefield Cup, which had been donated by Viscount Wakefield the previous year. He was a member of the British team for the years 1928 to 1932 and then flew Gordon Light’s U.S. entry to second place in 1933.
Having won a flying lesson at Brooklands from model contests in 1931 and 1932 he became determined to join the Royal Air Force. Frustrated at first, he persevered and was accepted in the Reserve of Air Force Officers (RAFO) and started flying training at Hatfield in June of 1933. It was to be the start of a career that took him all over the world and through to the Gloster Meteor from the Tiger Moth via Tutor’s Heyfords, Virginias, Valentias, Wellesleys, Blenheims, Bostons, Halifaxes and to command of squadrons of which 88 Squadron with its Douglas
Bostons must have been the most notable.
In RH G he led Operation Oyster at the forefront of the 93 Bostons, Mosquitoes and Venturas on the daring low level raid on the Phillips works at Eindhoven. Hit during the attack, the return to Oulton on one engine and no hydraulics ended in a heavy belly landing. For this raid he was awarded the DSO and his crew the DFC. It took place on December 6, 1942, and it was at the 52nd celebration of this that he collapsed in the company of S/Ldr Charles Patterson, DSO, DFC, who had flown a PR Mosquito on the raid and his publisheder Colin West of Crecy Books who had just released the long awaited James Pelly Fry memoirs, Heavenly Days.
One had to read this 392-page book to absorb the innumerable facets of his remarkable life, and the illustrious company in which he found himself. He was PA to Air Commander Arthur Harris, an Equerry to King George VI, the Air Attaché in Teheran among so many other fascinating elements of a life throughout which he never forsook his interest in the aeromodeling that set him into a flying career.
When he returned to active modeling (after a void from his last rubber duration design in Egypt,
1935) he created a fully slotted and flapped ultra slow flying motorized sailplane, and followed with a trio of his favorite full-scale types, the Devon, Boston and Wellesley. Each is immaculate and to perfect scale.
So passes a Grandee among aeromodellers, a personality of such stature that even those who knew nothing of the name or background have left the Old Warden Vintage events with a lasting impression of having conversed with a VIP from another age, if they had the good fortune to meet him.