Lance-Coporal Fred Fisher was enjoying a break in the little Belgium village of St. Julien, a short way from the front lines, when he heard the call to action. A German division was digging in just north of St. Julien. The 10th Battery Canadian Field Artillery (CFA) needed to retreat from a dangerous positon. They needed help getting their battery of heavy guns out.
A party of 60 men, including Fred Fisher, were sent to the position. Fisher asked for eight volunteers for his machine gun team. They went forward and got into position in a building where they could see north and west. While providing covering fire for the Canadians they also came under heavy German assault. Even though four of the Canadians were killed, they were able to hold the Germans back in this spot.
Fisher asked for more volunteers and using machine gun fire, cleared a forest of German attackers. He also found an abandoned French machine gun and got it working again.
He was separated from his battalion, but eventually found them again. As he was setting up his gun, he was hit by enemy fire and died instantly.
Like many others who died in the Second Battle of Ypres, between April 22-24, Fred Fisher was buried by his commanding officer in the trenches where they fought. His body has never been recovered. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium.
Posthumously (after his death) Lance-Corporal Fred Fisher was awarded the high honour of the Victoria Cross for his gallantry in action.
“On 23rd April, 1915, in the neighbourhood of St. Julien, he went forward with the machine gun, of which he was in charge, under heavy fire, and most gallantly assisted in covering the retreat of a battery, losing four men of his gun team. Later, after obtaining four more men, he went forward again to the firing line and was himself killed while bringing his machine gun into action under very heavy fire in order to cover the heavy advance of support.”- VC Citation