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Frederick Fisher
Frederick Fisher VC (August 3, 1894, St. Catharines, OntariomarkerApril 23, 1915), was a Canadianmarker recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to Britishmarker and Commonwealth forces. He was the first Canadian-born man to win VC while serving in the Canadian Army. A native of St. Catherine's Ontario, he had gone to McGill Universitymarker in Montrealmarker to study engineering in 1913. During that year, he also joined the Alpha Psi Chapter of the Zeta Psi Fraternity

He was 20 years old, and a Lance-Corporal in the 13th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

To open the Second Battle of Ypresmarker, on April 22 1915 in the neighbourhood of St Julienmarker, Belgiummarker, the Germans unleashed the first effective poison gas attack in history. Caught by surprise, the French division to the left of the 1st Canadian Division was routed -- with very heavy casualties. After a short pause to wait for the gas to clear, the Germans launched an attack into the gap, while the British and Canadians desperately tried to establish a new defence line. Thousands of German troops were moving in the open towards the hasty defence created by elements of the 14th Battalion CEF around St. Julien. As the improvised defence crumbled, the enemy were only 200 yards away and threatening to overrun a Canadian artillery battery. Lance-Corporal Fisher, along with six other men, went forward with his Colt machine-gun and, under heavy fire, covered the retreat of the battery, losing four men in the process. This action allowed for the Canadian 18 pounders to be hauled out of danger.

Later, when Lance Corporal Fisher had obtained four more men from the 14th Battalion, he went forward again into St Julien to fire on the swarming Germans, however only Fisher made it. The remainder were killed or wounded.

Meanwhile, the 13th Battalion (which was on the extreme left of the Canadian Division) was under heavy fire from three sides and suffering heavy casualties. Fisher set up his gun at another position to attack the oncoming Germans and was subsequently killed on April 23rd while yet again bringing his machine-gun into action under very heavy fire.

Like many of the other Canadian soldiers who fell in the first three days of the Second Battle of Ypres, Fisher's body was never recovered. His name can be found on the Menin Gatemarker; the memorial in Ypres for 56,000 troops from Britain, Australia, Canada and India whose final resting place in the Ypres salient is unknown.


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