Flying Officer Bryan Patrick Fraser, the son of Robert William Leon Julius Cannon Fraser and Ellen Fraser (nee Leahy), was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 3rd April 1923. He was educated at the Rockville State School and then attended the Toowoomba Grammar School. Prior to his enlistment he served in the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NG2069) for 10 months. At the age of 19 years and 7 months he was enlisted in the Citizen Air Force of the Royal Australian Air Force at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 26th November 1942 after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. At the time of enlistment he was unmarried and employed as a Miner. His physical description was that he was 5 feet 8 inches in height and weighed 128 pounds. He had a fair complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He stated that he was of the Roman Catholic religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Robert William Fraser, Lilley Street, Sherwood, Brisbane.
Flying Officer Bryan Fraser was allotted the service number of 434396. He was sent to No. 2 Initial Training School at Lindfield in New South Wales on 28th November 1942 to learn the basics of service life. He joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in New South Wales on 24th April 1943 to prepare for overseas attachment to the Royal Canadian Air Force for further training. He embarked from Australia on 24th May 1943 and after arriving in Canada he joined No. 3 M Depot at Edmonton on 12th June 1943. He joined No. 2 Air Observer School at Edmonton on 24th June 1943. After qualifying as a Navigator on 12th November 1943 he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer.
Flying Officer Bryan Fraser embarked from Halifax in Nova Scotia on attachment to the Royal Air Force on 13th December 1943 and he disembarked in England on 21st December 1943 where he joined No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre at Bournemouth on the following day. He joined No. 9 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit at Royal Air Force Station Llanwrogg on 11th January 1944. He joined No. 18 Operational Training Unit at Royal Air Force Station Worksop in Nottinghamshire on 29th February 1944 where he trained for night bombing using Vickers Wellington aircraft. Upon completion of his training there he was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on 12th May 1944. He joined No. 11 Base on 19th May 1944. He joined No. 166 Squadron Royal Air Force at Royal Air Force Station Kirmington for operational duties on 14th July 1944.
Flying Officer Bryan Fraser was a Navigator and member of the crew of No. 166 Squadron Lancaster Bomber ND628 that was based at Royal Air Force Station Kirmington, Lincolnshire. His aircraft was detailed to bomb its target at Stuttgart, Germany, but it failed to return from this operation. The Air Ministry notified his father who was residing at Lilley Street, Sherwood in Brisbane that he was missing on air operations presumably from enemy action. The aircraft was lost at Mannheim, Rheinsheim, Germany, on 24th/25 July 1944. Subsequently one body from his crew was washed ashore near Mannheim, and buried at Mannheim and two others were recovered and buried by the Germans at Rheinsheim. In 1947, No. 3 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit located the position of the crashed aircraft on the bank of the Rhein, 2 kilometres northwest of Rheinsheim. The Burgermeister of Rheinsheim stated that the bodies of five British airmen were buried. The bodies were exhumed by the Americans and reburied. Exhumations were carried out on 6th May 1947 which enabled three of those bodies to be positively identified however three bodies including that of Flying Officer Bryan Fraser could not be identified and these were buried in a grave registered collectively to the three members at the Rheinsheim Cemetery. In 1948 his remains were finally laid to rest in the Bad Toelz (Durnbach) British Military Cemetery.
Flying Officer Bryan Fraser’s headstone in the Durnbach War Cemetery contains the family inscription “A Tribute Of Love And Remembrance To Our Dear Son And Brother”. Bryan Fraser’s name is commemorated on Panel No. 122 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Mothers’ Memorial, the Toowoomba Soldiers’ Memorial Hall Honour Board and the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 27th January 1937 and that he left the School on 1st December 1939. He had completed the Junior examination in 1938 in which he passed nine subjects. His parent was shown as Robert William Fraser, Hillside Street, Toowoomba. Bryan Fraser and his brother Robert Bruce Fraser went to New Guinea after leaving the School where they were involved in gold mining at Surprise Creet, Wau, New Guinea. and Bryan later served with the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles.
View on Australian War Memorial