Captain, 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Died of Wounds, 3 September 1917, aged 38
Buried in Gaza War Cemetery, Palestine
Grave Reference: Plot XXIV, Row A, Grave 12

George Fisher
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Captain George Kenneth Thompson Fisher was born on 4 August 1879 at Barrow-in-Furness in Lancashire. He was the eldest son of Bishop George Carnac Fisher, who was successively Bishop of Southampton and Ipswich and Hon. Canon of Norwich, and Mary Penelope Gwendoline Thompson, daughter of the late Thomas Charles Thompson, who had been an M.P. for Durham City.

In the 1881 census he is enumerated at The Vicarage, Salthouse Road, Barrow, where his father was the local vicar. By 1891 he is enumerated at The Granville, Ramsgate, Kent. At this time, this was a hotel designed by Edward Welby Pugin (the son of the architect Augustus Pugin) and famous for its 25 different types of baths. In 1901 he was enumerated at Burgh House, Burgh St. Margaret (more commonly known as Fleggburgh), Norfolk, and finally in 1911 at 108 Ebury Street, London SW1.

George graduated with a B.A. from New College, Oxford, in 1902, having studied Art under G. A. Storey, R.A., Frank Brangwyn, R.A., and Arnesby Brown, R.A. He then travelled in Asia Minor and the Balkans. In 1909 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. In 1912 he became one of the Sheriffs for the county of Durham. He then took an appointment as a labour exchange clerk at the Board of Trade.

On 23 August 1914 he married Janet Katherine Mary Anson of 23, Launceston Place, Kensington, London W8, at St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London EC1, by special licence from his father.

George presumably met his wife in social circles in the Forest Row/Ashdown Park area of Sussex, since his father was previously a vicar at Forest Row in 1874. Janet, a devout, lifelong Christian Scientist, died in 1938 after a long illness. Janet was a sister of Sir Denis Anson, 4th Baronet, who is remembered for having tragically drowned in the Thames in 1914 aged 26 "due to high spirits and high jinx with friends".

George and Janet had two sons. Sir Anthony George Fisher (1915-1988) was an entrepreneur and founder of several think-tanks such as the Atlas Foundation and the Institute of Economic Affairs; he was also a decorated Battle of Britain pilot flying Hurricanes with 111 Squadron of the RAF. Basil Mark Fisher (8 October 1914-15 August 1940) also served with the 111 Squadron but sadly was shot down defending RAF Kenley in August 1940.

Captain Fisher sailed with the 4th Norfolks to Gallipoli in June 1915 and took part in the landing at Suvla Bay (8-15 August), when he was mentioned in despatches (reported in The London Gazette dated 28 January 1916, page 1199 - see below).

Captain George Fisher mentioned in despatches
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On 15 March 1916 Captain Fisher was awarded the Military Cross. The citation read:

"For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led the first line in the attack with great dash, and, though wounded, stuck to his duty and continued to do fine work until midnight, when he was ordered back with a message. He was then sent to hospital."

He was invalided home suffering from dysentery and then held a staff appointment and subsequently a position in the Ministry of Munitions, but returned to his regiment and sailed for Egypt in March 1917. On the night of 2 September 1917 he was out on patrol and, being somewhat in advance of the rest, was mortally wounded by a bomb thrown by a Turkish sniper. He was brought back into the lines by the patrol but died a few minutes after his return.

His Colonel wrote:

"Ever since I took over the command of the Battalion he had been one of my chief supporters...I can't tell you what a help he was to me. I cannot replace him either as an Officer or companion."

The Chaplain wrote:

"We could ill afford to lose such a fine character. He was a great favourite and beloved by all who knew him. He was always the same, cheerful and good-humoured. I may say that I have lost a true friend."

Sir George Barnes, K.C.B., Member of the Indian Council, wrote:

"He will be a real loss to the Board of Trade, for, starting at the very bottom, he had steadily won his way upwards by his industry and by his force of character... All the advancement he got he won for himself, and it is no easy thing to win advancement from the bottom in Government employ."

Gaza War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine (including Gaza)
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Captain Fisher is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery (Plot XXIV. Row A. Grave 12). In Britain, he is remembered on the war memorials at Hartfield, Coleman's Hatch, and Holy Trinity Church, Forest Row (all close to Ashdown Park) and also on the Fleggburgh St. Margaret and Billockby war memorial, located in the village near to his Norfolk home of Burgh House, not far from Great Yarmouth. The memorial in Fleggburgh, which is in the form of a memorial cross, was unveiled by his widow, Janet, on 10 December 1922. He is also named on the Harrow School Roll of Honour as well as two Civil Service war memorials - the Ministry of Labour war memorial and the Board of Trade war memorial.

Captain Fisher's links with Ashdown Forest are based on his residence at Ashdown Park, his wife's father's residence, which he inherited. Thomas Charles Thompson M.P. had acquired the estate in 1867 and had promptly knocked down the existing building and built a neo-Gothic Victorian manor house that still stands at the heart of Ashdown Hotel and Country Club.

The Memorial Book at Forest Row is signed by his widow, Janet, to whom he left £21,264, 6 shillings and 9 pence in his will. Her address is given as Burgh House, Fleggburgh, but formerly as Ashdown Park.

Carol O'Driscoll