British Naval Officer. He was the Sailing Master on the "HMS Bounty", and was second-in-command to Captain William Bligh. In his account of the mutiny on the Bounty on April 28, 1789, Bligh characterized Fryer as an incompetent troublemaker and this view has been accepted by many historians. In fact he was a highly competent and loyal officer, his one failing on the Bounty voyage being that he refused to act as Bligh's yes-man. They clashed frequently, especially over what Fryer saw as Bligh's preferential treatment of Fletcher Christian. Respect for him among the Bounty's crew was profound; even seaman Matthew Quintal, a vicious sociopath, was moved to save Fryer's life in Tahiti when a native threatened him with a club. During the mutiny Fryer was the only officer who attempted to persuade Christian to return to duty; joining Bligh and most of the other loyalists in being put off the ship, he survived the 3,500-mile open boat journey to Timor and returned safely to England. In 1792 Fryer testified at the Bounty court-martial and was later instrumental in helping Christian's brother, Edward Christian, publish an objective account of the mutiny in opposition to Bligh's biased version. Although he was never promoted to Captain, Fryer did attain the rank of Master of the First Rate and had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy. He retired from active service in 1812 and died at his birthplace in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards