Corporal Joseph William Fisher



Joseph William Fisher was born on 13 December 1880 at Chelsea, London, the second of five children of John Fisher and his wife Martha.

On 13 October 1896, at the age of 15 he enlisted at Hounslow in the King's Own Scottish Borderers (No.5819). He gave his trade as musician. On account of his age he was given the rank of 'boy'. On 10 February 1897 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion and embarked for overseas. He served in the East Indies until 1903, Burma to 1905, then Aden, returning home on 1 August 1906. He was promoted to drummer in April 1897, bandsman in February 1899, and lance corporal in February 1903, before once again becoming a private in September 1904.

Fisher faced a medical board at Colchester on 26 October 1906. It concluded he was suffering from valvular disease of the heart, which had originated two years earlier in Burma. "States he gets short of breath when playing the clarinet." He was found to be unfit for the duties of a soldier and was discharged as permanently unfit on 10 November 1906. his character was recorded as 'very good', with special qualifications as a violin and clarinet player.

On 29 October 1911 Fisher married Elizabeth Nash in West Ham, London. The couple had six children over the next ten years. At the time, Fisher was working as a painter and decorator for the firm Crosse & Blackwell of Soho Square.

At the end of 1911 or in early 1912 the North Irish Horse must have advertised in the English papers for musicians. Fisher was one of at least three to take up the offer. He enlisted in the regiment at Belfast on 30 April 1912 (No.705). (See also Henry Jolliffe and Henry Charles Abery.) He gave his trade as 'farmer' and, although noting his previous military service, did not mention the reason for his discharge.

Fisher attended the annual camps in 1912, 1913 and 1914 and following the outbreak of war, was mobilised on 8 August 1914. On 21 October 1914, however, he was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles (No.5686).

Initially posted to the 5th (Extra Reserve) Battalion at Holywood, Fisher had a number of brushes with the authorities. Absent from reveille from 3 to 15 June 1915, he was confined to barracks for seven days and lost thirteen days' pay. The following day he was absent from the commanding officer's parade, earning him another three days' confined to barracks.

On 28 June 1915 Fisher embarked for France, where he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. His time with the battalion was short, however, for on 2 September he returned to the UK, where he was once again posted to the 5th Battalion. It appears that he remained with that battalion in Ireland and England for the duration of the war.

Fisher received another three days' confined to barracks for quitting the ranks without permission on 16 December 1915, and was admonished with the loss of four days' pay for overstaying his pass from 8 to 11 January 1917. On 14 June 1917 he was promoted to lance corporal and was made acting corporal on 31 December that year.

On 4 February 1919 Fisher was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. His character was recorded as 'good'. He returned to London and was granted a pension – as late as 1923 his level of disability was assessed at 40 per cent. He died on 2 February 1942.


Image sourced from Public Member Trees contributor 'lfisher16511'.