b. 1945 Merewether, NSW, Australia. d. 03/05/1968 Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 02-03/05/1968 Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
A native of Merewether, New South Wales, Geoffrey was the son of Arthur Reginald and Flora Rae Bye (nee Bruderlin). He joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 18 in 1963 and rose to the rank of First Officer by the time of his death. He was unmarried. He was cremated and his ashes interred at Newcastle Memorial Park. He was one of the last two awards of the Albert Medal.
Geoffrey Clifford Bye was First Officer aboard the M.V. Frisia which was moored in Rabaul harbour on the night of 2nd-3rd May 1968. He was asleep in his cabin below deck when a fire broke out at approximately 4 a.m. and rapidly spread throughout the ship, completely cutting off the approaches’ to the sleeping quarters of the officers and crew and finally destroying the ship with the loss of three lives. Being awoken by the heat Bye, instead of taking advantage of two escape routes which were then available to him, by-passed these to go to the aid of the elderly Chief Engineer whom he knew to be asleep in another; part of the ship and not to be very agile. When he reached the Chief Engineer’s cabin, Bye realised that, because of the spread of the fire the only possible means of escape was through the small 12 inch portholes of the cabin. Bye made several attempts to force the Chief Engineer through a porthole until he was overcome by smoke and flames. The bodies of the Chief Engineer and Bye were later found jammed in adjacent portholes. The late First Officer Bye displayed great personal courage, cool headedness and a complete disregard for his own safety in attempting to save the life of a fellow cnew member.
BURIAL LOCATION: NEWCASTLE MEMORIAL PARK, BERESFIELD, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
DRIVE WALL AY/88 (ASHES INTERRED).
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.