Cyril Boyd Fenton

June 23, 2015

FENTON, Cyril Boyd- SPC- – – 1911-1915

DoB:- – 11 April 1897, Terang, VIC

Father:- – George Augustus Frederick Fenton

Mother:- – Kathryn Marie, nee Clarke

Cyril Fenton was a boarder at St Pat’s from Natimuk, Victoria. Throughout his years at SPC he competed in the athletics and hurdles, was first in the 1912 high jump and 880 yard race, and reached third place in the 100 yard sprint. In 1912 he was a Sub-Junior prize winner, and in 1915 passed the subjects necessary for a complete Senior Public Pass: Physics, Mechanics, English Language and Literature, Geometry, Algebra and Trigonometry.

In the College Annual of 1911, it was reported that Cyril saved a drowning boy on Lake Wendouree on 17 June 1911. For his bravery, the Royal Humane Society of Australasia considered that he was -‘entitled to every praise, and your name should be placed amongst those who have received the commendation of this Society’.

Service No:- 9228

Rank:- – Private, later A/Corporal, later Lieutenant

Unit:- – 1st Dermatological Hospital (staff), later 62nd Squadron Royal Flying Corps

Cyril Fenton enlisted on 26 July 1915 at the age of 18 years. He was a bank clerk by occupation, was five feet, eight inches tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair wavy hair. He embarked on 22 December 1915 from Sydney aboard the Kanowna.

He was appointed to the staff of the Dermatological Hospital in Cairo, also known as the Venereal Diseases Hospital (dermatology and venereology were essentially the same speciality at that time). Private Fenton was himself admitted to hospital on several occasions between February and May 1916 with diphtheria and febrile infection. By 28 July, he was transferred from Egypt to London.

On 1 September 1916, he was discharged from the AIF in order to take up a Commission with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) England. He was 19 and a half years old at the time.

The following year, in February 1917, Lieutenant Fenton was involved in a flying accident the result of which left him unconscious and in a critical condition for three weeks. He had fractured the base of his skull, had a compound fracture of his right leg, cuts on his face and various abrasions and bruises on his face and body. Amazingly enough, he was reported to be -‘doing splendidly’ by the end of March!

By 1918, Lieutenant Fenton had been assigned to the 62nd Squadron RFC/RAF personnel in France. On 12 March 1918, Fenton was flying with Lt Henry Basil Pridden Boyce (a Canadian Observer), when they were shot down by Lothar von Richthofen, becoming that German flyer’s 28th and 29th victims. They were captured and became Prisoners of War (POWs), interned at Lagar Landshut POW Camp. The two flyers were imprisoned for nine months, until in December 1918 when they were repatriated to England, arriving at Hull on 14 December.

After the war, Cyril returned to Australia, but the College could find no record of exactly how or when.

Cyril Boyd Fenton died on 21 January 1922 in Brighton, a beachside suburb of Melbourne. He was only 24 years old. The cause of his death was Hodgkins Disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system.

Cyril was buried at the Brighton Cemetery, Victoria. He was unmarried.