Private 345691 Thomas Henry Fisher

Fisher Thomas 96 396x600
Grave photo courtesty Andy Fretwell, CWGC Regional Supervisor Israel & Cyprus.

Killed in Action Egypt on Thursday, 27th December 1917, age 36.
Buried in Grave E. 32. at Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel.

24th (Denbighshire Yeomanry) Bn., Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 231st Brigade of 74th Division.

Husband of Mrs Betsy Fisher, 5 Heath Street, Shotton, Chester.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Shotton, Resident: Shotton.

First landed Egypt, 15th March 1917.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Connah's Quay and Shotton memorials.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/646854/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Thomas Henry Fisher registered December quarter 1881 in Dudley.

1901 Census
Back of 36 William Street, West Bromwich.
Thomas Fisher (53, Iron Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (52, born Tipton), and their son Thomas Henry (age 19, Iron Galvaniser, born Tipton) and daughter Annie (12, born Tipton).

Thomas Fisher married Betsy Matthews in Tipton, on 3rd May 1903. Thomas Henry was born 28th December 1906 in Tipton, and Walter born 18th January 1914 in Shotton. Two other children died in infancy.

1911 Census
49 Farley Street, West Bromwich.
Thomas H. Fisher (29, Sheet Galvaniser in Iron Mills, born Tipton), his wife Betsy (30, born Tipton), and their only surviving child from 3 Thomas H. (4, born West Bromwich). A further child, Walter, was born on 18th January 1915.

Personal Data

At some time between the 1911 and 1915 Edward and his family moved to Shotton to work a galvaniser at John Summers Iron Works.

Thomas attested on 12th December 1915 under the Derby Scheme, and was immediately placed in the Army Reserve. He was called up on 3rd July 1916, and posted to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (RWF), initially being numbered 44034. At that stage he was 34 years and 8 months old, 5 feet 5½ inches tall, had a 36 inch chest, and weighed 125 pounds with 'good' physical development. He was employed as a galvaniser, and was a Methodist.

After training, Thomas embarked at Southampton on 25th February 1917, disembarking in Alexandria on 15th March 1917 having been posted to the 24th Battalion, RWF. The 24th RWF were in 231st Brigade of the 74th (Yeomanry) Division, newly-formed from brigades of dismounted yeomanry (Territorial Army Cavalry), at the time serving on Suez Canal defences.

After just 6 weeks, on 26th April 1917, Thomas was admitted to 231st Brigade Field Ambulance suffering from dysentery. It was not until 21st July that he was discharged to Base Depot, rejoining his unit on 9th September 1917 in time for the 3rd Battle of Gaza in October, and the capture of Jerusalem on 9th December 1917. Thomas Fisher was killed in action on 27th December. He was buried on the 29th December at Kled Dreihemeh ("amongst the sangers on top of the hill"), and later reburied at Jerusalem War Cemetery.

Mrs Fisher was awarded a pension of 25 shillings and 5 pence per week for herself and 2 children with effect from 15th July 1918.

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/19/1d (6 pounds, 19 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Betsy, in June 1918. His War Gratuity was £6/0/0d (6 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his widow in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in May 1916.

Action resulting in his death

For most of 1917 the Turkish defensive line stretched from Beersheba to Gaza on the coast after their retreat across the Sinai Peninsula from the Suez defeats. The Gaza-Beersheba line was breeched in October 1917 at the 3rd Battle of Gaza. The Turks were followed in their retreat, and Jerusalem was captured on 9th December 1917. Skirmishing continued throughout December as the Turks continued to retreat eastwards.

Thomas Fisher was killed in action on 27th December during an attack by the 24th RWF on Hill 2450 at Kled Dreihemeh. Twenty nine men from the 24th RWF were killed on 27th December, two more dying from their wounds before the end of the year. Thomas was buried on the 29th December 1917, and later reburied at Jerusalem War Cemetery.

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