b. 18/12/1920 Ealing, London. d. 01/09/2008 Wirral, Merseyside.
He was born in Ealing, London, in 1920. He was the elder son of Sydney Fraser, a marine engineer. He attended the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, and the school ship HMS Conway. He worked on merchant ships from 1937 to 1939. Fraser joined the Royal Navy in 1939, serving on the submarine HMS Sahib in 1943. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1943 for "bravery and skill in successful submarine patrols. In 1944, at age 24, he became a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, and volunteered to serve on the ‘X’ craft midget submarine depot ship HMS Bonaventure from 7 November 1944 to July 1945.
Lieutenant Fraser commanded His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 in a successful attack on a Japanese heavy cruiser of the Atago class at her moorings in Johore Strait, Singapore, on 31st July, 1945. During the long approach up the Singapore Straits XE-3 deliberately left the believed safe channel and entered mined waters to avoid suspected hydrophone posts. The target was aground, or nearly aground, both fore and aft, and only under the midship portion was there just sufficient water for XE-3 to place herself under the cruiser. For forty minutes XE-3 pushed her way along the seabed until finally Lieutenant Fraser managed to force her right under the centre of the cruiser. Here he placed the limpets and dropped his main side charge. Great difficulty was experienced in extricating the craft after the attack had been completed, but finally XE-3 was clear, and commenced her long return journey out to sea. The courage and determination of Lieutenant Fraser are beyond all praise. Any man not possessed of his relentless determination to achieve his object in full, regardless of all consequences, would have dropped his side charge alongside the target instead of persisting until he had forced his submarine right under the cruiser. The approach and withdrawal entailed a passage of 80 miles through water which had been mined by both the enemy and ourselves, past hydrophone positions, over loops and controlled minefields, and through an anti-submarine boom.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: CREMATED AT LANDICAN CREMATORIUM, THE WIRRAL.
ASHES ARE INTERRED IN CONWAY CHAPEL, ST MARY'S CHURCH, BIRKENHEAD.
Ian Fraser's medals including VC and DSC on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Ian Fraser Walk in Wallasey