Fisher, Hugh Joseph (No. K/33119)

Fisher, Hugh Joseph (Hugh)

Stoker First Class

No. K/33119, HMS Vanguard, Royal Navy

Killed in action on Monday 9 July 1917 (aged 27)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 23)

Brother of Private George Fisher (No. 724696)


Hugh Joseph Fisher was born on 30 January 1890 at 20 St Pancras Street, Belfast and he was a son of George and Jane Fisher (nee McGrattan) who were married on 15 October 1887 in St Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church Belfast.  George Fisher from 6 Stewart Street, Belfast was a son of George Fisher, a brewer.  Jane McGrattan from 6 Stewart Street, Belfast was a daughter of Peter McGrattan, a labourer.

George Fisher Senior worked as a carter and he and Jane had three children:

George (born 24 August 1888 at 39 Keegan Street, Belfast)

Hugh Joseph (born 30 January 1890 at 20 St Pancras Street, Belfast)

Mary Catherine (born 25 March 1893 at 108 Halliday’s Road, Belfast)

The Fisher family lived in Belfast at 39 Keegan Street; at 20 St Pancras Street and at 20 Collyer Street.

George Fisher Senior was 27 when he died of heart disease on 6 November 1892 – some four months before his daughter Mary was born.

Jane Fisher was working as a servant in the townland of Craigarodden, Portaferry when she and John Berry were married on 1 May 1900 in Ballyphilip Roman Catholic Church Portaferry.  John Berry from Ballyquinton, Portaferry worked as a labourer and he was a son of Robert Berry, a grocer.

John and Jane Berry lived in the townlands of Tara, Ballymarter and Keentagh, Quintin, Portaferry and they had five children:

Sarah Jane (Jennie, born 27 December 1900)

Thomas John (born 15 March 1902 in Ballymarter)

Dominick (born 23 September 1903 in Ballymarter; died of tetanus on 4 October 1903 aged 11 days)

Dominick (born 1 September 1905 in Ballymarter)

Isabella (born 8 August 1908)

Hugh was the second of the two Fisher brothers to die in the Great War.

By the age of eleven Hugh Fisher was working as a farm servant in the townland of Ballyfounder, Quintin, Portaferry.  Prior to the outbreak of the Great War both Hugh Fisher and his step-father John Berry worked as agricultural labourers.

Hugh Fisher joined the Royal Navy and served aboard HMS Vanguard.  This battleship was involved throughout the Battle of Jutland and did not suffer any damage or casualties.  Just before midnight on Monday 9 July 1917 at Scapa Flow there was a massive explosion on board.  The reason for the explosion has never been proved conclusively but most experts agree that the likely cause was cordite in one of the magazines overheating to a dangerous level because of a fire in an adjacent compartment.  The ship sank almost immediately with the loss of more than 840 lives.  There were only two survivors and afterwards there were gruesome reports about a nearby trawler being ‘splattered with blood and pieces of human flesh’.

Stoker First Class Hugh Fisher was 27 when he died and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent.