Corporal Claude Fisher, 238063, Northumberland Fusiliers, 24th (Tyneside Irish) Battalion
Claude Fisher was born in Horbury in late 1889, the second son of three boys, born between 1884 and 1892 to Tom Fisher and his wife Millicent (nee Marshall) who married in 1889. Horbury-born Tom Fisher was a cloth fuller and in 1901 the family were living on Manor Road, Horbury.
By 1911, Tom and, Derby-born, Millicent Fisher, with their three boys, had moved to the eight-roomed Railway Tavern, Lands Fold, Ossett where Tom was now the publican. Claude Fisher, then aged 21 years was working as a football maker.
On the 17th May 1913, at Ossett Holy Trinity Parish Church, 23 year-old Claude Fisher of the Railway Tavern, Ossett married 25 year-old spinster Beatrice Elizabeth Oldroyd of 4, School Street, Gawthorpe. The couple went on to have two children: Tom Fisher was born in late 1915 and another son, Frank Fisher, born in September 1916.
At the time of his death in May 1917, Claude Fisher and his family lived at King Street, Station Road, Ossett.
The 24th (Service) Battalion (1st Tyneside Irish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers was formed at Newcastle on the 14 November 1914, by the Lord Mayor and City. In June 1915, the Battalion came under orders of 103rd Brigade, 34th Division and landed in France in January 1916. The 103 brigade's losses on the 1st July 1916 were so severe (in fact they had the highest casualty rate on the opening day of the Somme, at 6,380) so that on the 6th July, it, along with the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade, was transferred to the 37th Division, swapping with the 112th Brigade. The two brigades returned to the 34th Division on the 22 August 1916. On the 10th August 1917, the Battalion amalgamated with 27th Battalion to form 24/27th Battalion and on the 26th February 1918, the Battalion was disbanded in France.
In 1917 the 24th Battalion as part of 103 Brigade fought in the the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe and the Battle of Arleux between 28th and 29th April 1917 during the Arras Offensive. It is believed that Claude Fisher was wounded during the Battle of Arleux and died in hospital in the U.K. before being buried at Holy Trinity Church.
Here is a transcript of a copy of a poignant letter written by Claude Fisher to his parents, Tom and Millicent Fisher just a few days before he died of his wounds, courtesy of Stephanie Jones of Leeds. Corporal Claude Fisher was her G. G. Uncle:
"From 34740 Cpl. C. Fisher, 24 Batt NF, Address: B3 Ward, No. 3 Western General Hospital, Ninian Park, Cardiff.
Dear M & F - Just a few lines to say I am still in the land of the living but that's just about all. I have been very badly knocked about. I have got a bullet through my left shoulder joint and a shrapnel wound centre of my right shoulder blade then one the size of a shilling at the top of my shoulder . . . first chance I have had writing to you. You have no need to think I shall go back to France. When I come out I don't think I shall ever be fit for it again, I have no use in my left arm and only a bit in the right. I can just lift a cup up and with bending my head down manage to drink, so you see how helpless I am. I have very nice food here.
I will conclude hoping you are all in the best of health from your loving son. xxxxxxxxxxxx (12 kisses) - Claude.
p.s. Please send stamped addressed when you reply as I have no money."
Claude Fisher’s army service record has not survived, but he was posthumously awarded the British and Victory medals. He did not serve overseas before 31 December 1915 and his Medal Card records that he first joined the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry where he made Corporal rank with a service number 235186. He was later transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers.
Above: Corporal Claude Fisher with his wife Beatrice and sons Frank (born 1916) and Tom (born 1915). Following Claude's death, Beatrice remarried to Harry Parker in 1919, but only took her younger son Frank with her to her new home in Leeds. Her older son Tom stayed with his grandparents in Ossett.
Private Claude Fisher, aged 27 years, died of wounds on the 10th May 1917 and is buried at grave reference 22. 54. at Ossett (Holy Trinity) Churchyard 2 where there are twenty identified WW1 and WW2 casualties.
1. "Ossett Observer", 19th May 1917