Fisher, James (Jim)
No. 7191, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Friday 12 March 1915 (aged 24)
No known grave
Le Touret Memorial, France (Panel 42 and 43)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
Regent Street Methodist Church Newtownards
James Fisher was born in Shuttlefield, Newtownards on 23 August 1890 and he was a son of William and Margaret Fisher (nee McCalpin, sometimes McAlpin) who were married on 22 July 1865 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church. Margaret McAlpin was a daughter of David Maxwell.
William Fisher worked as a hand loom weaver and he and Margaret had thirteen children including:
Mary (born 12 January 1882 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
William (born 3 July 1885)
James (Jim, born 23 August 1890 in Shuttlefield, Newtownards)
Nine of the children died in childhood.
The Fisher family lived in Mark Street and Shuttlefield and at 15 East Street, Newtownards.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Jim Fisher worked as a tenter.
Jim Fisher and Margaret (Maggie) Davis were married on 28 November 1911 in Regent Street Methodist Church Newtownards. Maggie was a daughter of Andrew Davis, a car driver.
Jim and Maggie Fisher lived in Front Shuttlefield and at 12 Court Street, Newtownards and they had two children:
Margaret (born 5 August 1913 in Front Shuttlefield, Newtownards)
Jemima (born 18 May 1915 at 12 Court Street, Newtownards)
Jemima was born some two months after her father was killed.
Jim Fisher enlisted in Newtownards on 24 August 1914 and joined the Royal North Downs. He went to France on 26 December 1915 and was attached to ‘D’ Company of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.
In early April 1915 unofficial news reached Newtownards that Rifleman James Fisher of the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles attached to the 1st Battalion had died of wounds. The first intimation came in a letter from Jim’s comrade, Hugh McConnell, also from Newtownards. Jim Fisher had been a regular letter writer and, significantly, his letters stopped coming. His family feared that Jim had died during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which commenced on 10 March 1915 with the objective of recapturing the town and also the overlooking Aubers Ridge. In another letter home Hugh McConnell described the charge to the German trenches as ‘terrible’ and he imparted the news that Jim had been shot in the stomach. ‘Very few live after getting injured there’, Hugh had added in his letter.
During April and May 1915 Jim’s wife and the Rev W L T Whatham both tried without success to get definitive information from the War Office as to Jim’s whereabouts. Then, in a letter to Jim’s mother, Rifleman T Stitt (another of Jim’s comrades) informed her that when Jim was wounded he had been too close to the German lines for the stretcher bearers to get to him under sustained enemy fire and Jim had died on the battlefield.
In late May 1915 Rifleman James Fisher was reported as wounded and missing in action and it was not until March 1916 that it was officially confirmed he must be presumed to have been killed in action on 12 March 1915 during an attack on the enemy trenches. That day more than 50 men of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles died. Rifleman James Fisher is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and on the Memorial Plaques in both Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s) and Regent Street Methodist Church Newtownards. In his will, Jim left all of his property and effects to his wife Maggie.
Maggie Fisher got married again on 2 April 1924, to Robert Rutherford of Ballyrogan, Newtownards.