Honouring Canada’s Victoria Cross recipients – Lance Corporal Frederick Fisher, VC

The first profile of the series, Honouring Canada’s Victoria Cross recipients, honours Lance-Corporal Frederick Fisher of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Newspaper clipping of a grainy photograph of Lance-Corporal Fisher with the following caption: “Lance-Corporal F. Fisher (13th Canadian Battalion), who was awarded the V.C. His brave action cost him his life. Two of his brothers are in the Army.”

Lance-Corporal F. Fisher, V.C. (MIKAN 3215642)

Lance Corporal Fisher, age 20, was serving with the machine gun section of the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada when the Second Battle of Yypres commenced on April 22, 1915.

Colour poster of a Union Jack on its side with a notice for recruitment for the 13th, 42nd 73rd Battalions, known as the Royal Highlanders of Canada and allied with the Black Watch.

Recruitment poster for the Royal Highlanders (MIKAN 3635556)

On that day, the German Army released chlorine gas over a 6.5-kilometre front, mainly in a section held by French colonial and territorial troops. The French, who were on the Canadian left flank, had 6,000 casualties within 10 minutes of this attack, and many of those not immediately affected fled. The Canadian 1st Division troops moved to close the massive gap that opened in the line.

Reproduction of a typed page describing the troop activities for the period from April 22 to April 30, 1915.

Extract from the war diaries of the 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion from April 22 to April 30, 1915 (MIKAN 1883219)

The following day, as the defences around him collapsed, Lance-Corporal Fisher and six other men went forward with a machine gun and held off advancing German infantry under heavy fire, allowing the Canadian 18-pound field guns to be withdrawn. Four of the defenders died in the process. Later the same day, Fisher and four men of the 14th Battalion again went forward to fire on advancing German troops. Fisher was the only man to survive the engagement. He was killed later that day while once again attempting to repulse a German attack. His citation in the London Gazette, June 23, 1915, recounts that Fisher: “most gallantly assisted in covering the retreat of a battery” (London Gazette, no. 29202). Like many Canadian soldiers killed in the opening days of 2nd Ypres, Fisher’s body was never recovered. He is named on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, along with the names of more than 54,000 other soldiers from Britain, Australia, Canada, and India with no known graves. His Victoria Cross is held by the Canadian Black Watch Museum in Montreal. Library and Archives Canada holds the CEF service file for Lance-Corporal Frederick Fisher.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s