Charles Burgess Fry was born in Croydon on 25th April 1872. He was educated at Repton School where he developed a reputation as an outstanding sportsman. He took his degree at Wadham College, Oxford, and represented the university at football, cricket and athletics.
He started playing cricket for Surrey in 1891. He continued to play other sports and in 1893 Fry equalled the then world long jump record of 23 feet 6 1/2 inches (7.17 metres).
Fry suffered a mental breakdown in his final year at Oxford University and although academically gifted he only managed to obtain a poor degree. After graduating from university, Fry taught at Charterhouse.
In 1894 Fry joined Sussex. He also played football for the amateur club Corinthians and rugby for Blackheath and the Barbarians. Cricket was his main sport and February 1896, he made his debut for England.
The following year Fry was in the Southampton team that reached the 1902 FA Cup Final. Sheffield United took an early lead but Southampton scored a controversial equalizer and the game was drawn 1-1. Fry wrote in the Southern Echo: "The outstanding feature of the match was the grand goalkeeping of Foulke. he made a number of good saves, and on two or three occasions cleared the ball from what appeared impossible positions. Once, near the end, from a corner, he effected an absolute miracle with four or five men right on to him."
William Foulke was furious that the equalizing goal had been given after the game he went searching for the referee. The linesman, J. T. Howcroft, described how Frederick Wall, secretary of the Football Association, tried to placate the goalkeeper: "Foulke was exasperated by the goal and claimed it was in his birthday suit outside the dressing room, and I saw F. J. Wall, secretary of the FA, pleading with him to rejoin his colleagues. But Bill was out for blood, and I shouted to Mr. Kirkham to lock his cubicle door. He didn't need telling twice. But what a sight! The thing I'll never forget is Foulke, so tremendous in size, striding along the corridor, without a stitch of clothing."
Walter Bennett was injured and could not take part in the replay. He was replaced by William Barnes on the wing. The game was only two minutes old when a massive clearing kick by Foulke reached George Hedley and Sheffield United took an early lead. Led by the outstanding Ernest Needham, Sheffield dominated play but Albert Brown managed to score a equalizer. Southampton began to apply pressure but according to the Athletic News, "Foulke was invincible". With ten minutes to go, Needham took a shot that the Southampton goalkeeper, John Robinson, could only block, and Barnes was able to hit the ball into the unguarded net. Sheffield won 2-1 and Fry was on the losing side.
The following season Fry failed to obtain a regular place in the Southampton defence. He also played twice at centre-forward, without success, and in 1903 he joined Portsmouth. After suffering a leg injury he retired from the game.
Fry now concentrated on his cricket career. A right-handed batsman, Fry became captain of Sussex in 1894 and headed the county batting averages in 1901, 1903, 1907, 1911 and 1912. Fry also captained England in six Test matches in 1912.
Fry took a keen interest in politics and was a strong supporter of William Gladstone. As a member of the Liberal Party he made several attempts to be elected to the House of Commons. The nearest he came to victory was when he lost by 224 votes in Oxford. In 1920 Fry became an adviser to the Indian delegation at the League of Nations in Geneva.
Fry, who also played for Hampshire, played first-class cricket until 1921. In a career that lasted 29 years, he scored over 30,000 first-class runs at an average of over 50. This included 94 first-class centuries.
After leaving the staff of Charterhouse, Fry became Director of the Training Ship Mercury, a nautical school primarily designed to prepare boys for service in the Royal Navy. He was eventually given the rank of captain in the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR).
In later life Fry suffered another major breakdown and showed signs of paranoia. In 1934 Fry met Adolf Hitler and invited members of Hitler Youth to visit the Mercury training ship. He expressed support for the Nazi Party until shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Charles Burgess Fry died in Hampstead on 7th September, 1956.