Wednesday, 8 April 2015

G is for Gallipoli

Walter Fish (1878 - 1915) was the youngest of thirteen children of William Fish (1831 - 1893) and Emma née  Crompton (1833 - 1910). Two of Walter's brothers were married to my husband's great grand aunts. Thomas Fish (1872 - 1949) married Alice Young (1859 - 1935). Alfred Fish (1860 - 1932)  married Alice's sister Rachel Young (1865 - 1918).

Walter Fish was born in Avoca, Victoria, in 1878. In 1905, at the age of 27, he married Isabel Daly in Perth, Western Australia. (1289/1905) Isabel Whiley Daly had been born in Avoca in 1883. After the war she remarried, to George David Bowen, and she died in 1964 in Maryborough, Victoria. Walter and Isabel had no children.

In 1908 Walter and Isabel were recorded on the Australian Electoral rolls as living at Avoca. Walter's occupation was miner. In 1914 the couple were living at Cobden, Victoria, 4 kilometers south of Camperdown and 60 kilometers east of Warrnambool.

In November 1914 Walter Fish enlisted at Camperdown, Victoria. (NAA: B2455, Fish Walter : SERN 2227 : POB Avoca VIC : POE Melbourne VIC : NOK W Fish Isabella)

Walter was 5' 6" tall, with fair hair and blue eyes. His medical examination recorded no distinctive marks.  On 5 January 1915 he was taken on strength with the 6th Battalion , 2nd reinforcements as  Private number 2227.

On 2 February 1915 Walter embarked at Melbourne on HMAT A 46 "Clan Macgillivray". His file contains little information about his activities up to the point of his death, at the age of thirty-seven, on 13 July 1915. He was killed in action and is buried in Shrapnel Valley. His epitaph on his grave (II.B.32.) is

Dear Is The Memory
He Left Behind. Of A Life
So Loving, True & Kind


 ("Anzac Epitaphs Gallipoli E-F-G." Epitaphs of Gallipoli. B. Dolan and J. Meyers, 11 Jan. 2014.  <http://www.anzacs.org/epitaphs/epitaphsefg.html>. The epitaph was contributed by his wife http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/622274/FISH,%20WALTER. )

Also died on the same day and buried at Shrapnel Valley
  • GEORGE, JOHN Private 197, 6th Bn died of wounds
  • O'MALLEY, JEREMIAH THOMAS Private 2279, 6th Bn
  • SULLIVAN, JAMES PETER Private 1584, 3rd Bn
  • McDOUGALL, ALFRED KITSON Lance Corporal 126, 7th Bn
  • McCULLOUGH, CHARLES Private 1863, 6th Bn died of wounds
  • SOHIER, NORMAN HENRY Private 1826, 4th Bn
  • FELL, JOHN Private 2226, 6th Bn died of wounds
  • SHANAHAN, JAMES Private 2298, 6th Bn killed in action
(from the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org)

1915 photograph of graves of Australian soldiers at Shrapnel Gully Cemetery, Gallipoli. The tall wooden cross on the right marks the grave of  Sgt Bulmer who was killed in action on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 16 July 1915 and is buried in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery at grave I. B. 16. Australian War Memorial Image P01337.005


The war diary for the 6th battalion for the period is not available. There is no obvious battle that the 6th Battalion were involved in in July 1915. It would seem that Walter Fish was killed in an isolated incident on 13 July.