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Person Details
James William Fisher was the son of Richard and Janet Fisher and the brother of Leonard, Christopher Henry, Emmeline Beatrice, Richard Thomas and Albert Ernest Fisher. The family lived at Radford, Nottingham in 1891 and had moved to 17, Nugent Street, Calcutta, Street in 1901 and 11, Heath Terrace, Lotus Street (both St Ann’s Nottingham) by 1911. James married Kate Starr at Nottingham in 1909 and they had three children, Beatrice Sarah (5/11/07), William (6/8/11) and Kate (18/4/1915). They do not appear on the 1911 Census. They lived at 20 Bromley Street, Sneinton early in the war and at the time of James Fisher's death, the family address was 91, Clarence Street, Carlton Road, Nottingham. With effect from 23/4/1917, Kate was awarded a weekly pension of 26s/3d for herself and three children.
He was a painter upon enlistment.
16 Sep 1916
752014 - CWGC Website
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Special Reservist James William Fisher attested at Nottingham 15/8/1914. Fisher first entered theatre (France & Flanders) 20/7/1915 in time for fierce action around Hooge near Ypres. On 19th July, the Germans held Hooge Chateau and the British the stables and no man's land either side was 70–150 yards. Inside the German salient was a fortification under which the 175th Tunnelling Company had dug a gallery 190 foot long and charged a mine with 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) of ammonal. The mine was detonated at 7:00 p.m. and left a crater 120 feet wide and 20 feet deep. No artillery-fire had been opened before the attack and the Germans were surprised. The trenches near the crater were consolidated and connected to the old front line. A massive German counter-attack on 30th July subjected 8th Rifle Brigade to liquid fire from flame throwers, the first time such weapons had been deployed. At the same time a massive bombardment of shells, mortars, grenades and machine-guns was opened on the communication trenches and the 300 yards of ground between the front line and the support lines in Zouave and Sanctuary Woods. The ramparts of Ypres and the exits from the town were also shelled. There was intensive hand to hand fighting in some trenches and eventually virtually all of the positions held by 41st Brigade were lost. Initial British attempted counter attacks were easily repulsed but on 9th August, a surprise advance by 6th Division, including 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters, regained all lost ground including the ruins of the Chateau stables. Lance Corporal Bilbie of 2nd Sherwood Foresters recalled ‘When the charge was all over and we were victorious, we had the worst to go through, that was the roll call. We were very badly cut up, losing a terrible lot of men but still he will never be forgotten by all that is living from the big battle. We were fighting for eighteen hours and never stopped. It was terrible. We lost about four hundred men out of our battalion.’ At 8.15 am on 15th September 1916, 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters advanced near Guillemont on the Somme with 9th Bn Suffolk Regiment on their right. Enemy machine gun fire caused heavy casualties, according to the war diary. At 18.20, about 200 Germans attacked but were beaten off. They were 'shelled during the day at short intervals.' Fisher was probably killed by as the battalion was 'heavily shelled' whilst awaiting relief on September 16th. Fisher evidently had problems with military discipline. He was awarded Field Punishment No. 2 twice early in his his army career and one spell of 14 days detention. In March 1916, Fisher deserted and was sentenced to three years penal servitude. The sentence was squashed and he seems to have returned to his unit. On May 20th 1916, Fisher was sentenced to 7 days Field Punishment No 1 for committing 'violence towards an nco'. James William Fisher is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10C, 10D & 11A.
Field Punishment was introduced in 1881 following the abolition of flogging, and was a common punishment during World War I. A commanding officer could award field punishment for up to 28 days, while a court martial could award it for up to 90 days. Field Punishment Number One, often abbreviated to F.P. No. 1 or even just No. 1, consisted of the convicted man being placed in fetters and handcuffs or similar restraints and attached to a fixed object, such as a gun wheel or a fence post, for up to two hours per day. During the early part of World War I, the punishment was often applied with the arms stretched out and the legs tied together, giving rise to the nickname ‘crucifixion’. This was applied for up to three days out of four, up to 21 days total. It was usually applied in field punishment camps set up for this purpose a few miles behind the front line, but when the unit was on the move it would be carried out by the unit itself. It has been alleged that this punishment was sometimes applied within range of enemy fire. During World War I Field Punishment Number One was issued by the British Army on 60210 occasions. FP No 1 was abolished in 1923 by a House of Lords amenment to the Army Act. Field Punishment No 2 was identical to No 1 except the victim was not tied to a a fixed object. Special Reserve This was a form of part-time soldiering, in some ways similar to the Territorial Force. Men would enlist into the Special Reserve for 6 years and had to accept the possibility of being called up in the event of a general mobilisation and otherwise undertake all the same conditions as men of the Army Reserve. Their period as a Special Reservist started with six months full-time training (paid the same as a regular) and they had 3-4 weeks training per year thereafter. A man who had not served as a regular could extend his SR service by up to four years but could not serve beyond the age of 40. A former regular soldier who had completed his Army Reserve term could also re-enlist as a Special Reservist and serve up to the age of 42. All regiments had a unit (or more) dedicated to the administration and training of the Special Reservists. For example in most infantry regiments it was the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. In all there were 101 reserve battalions in existence in August 1914. Their job was to provide reinforcement drafts for the active service battalions. Staffed by regular soldiers, each SR Battalion had a complement of 8 officers, 1 RSM, 38 NCOs, 10 Drummers and 40 Privates of the regular army, and the official establishment when all reservists were on duty was a little over 600 (ie smaller than a full-scale serving battalion). Research by David Nunn Thanks to James Fisher's family member Christine Preedy for this identification.
Remembered on