GEORGE KENNETH THOMPSON FISHER

Captain, 1st/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
 

Gaza War Cemetery

Captain George Kenneth Thompson Fisher was born on 4 August 1879 in Barrow-in-Furness, 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, but by 1891 he is enumerated at The Granville, Ramsgate, Kent, then in 1901 at Burgh House, Burgh St. Margaret (more commonly known as Fleggburgh), Norfolk, and finally in 1911 at 108 Ebury Street, London SW1. 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. They had two sons.

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 before taking an appointment as a labour exchange clerk at the Board of Trade.

Captain Fisher was given a commission on the outbreak of the war in the 4th Norfolks. He sailed with them for Gallipoli in June 1915 and took part in the landing at Suvla Bay (8-15 August), when he was Mentioned in Despatches. 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. He was buried in the cemetery four miles south of Gaza.

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."

Captain George Kenneth Thompson 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 set about building a neo-Gothic Victorian manor house that still stands at the heart of Ashdown Hotel and Country Club. The Memorial Book is signed by his widow, Janet, whose address is given as Burgh House, Fleggburgh, but formerly as Ashdown Park.

Carol O'Driscoll