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Private William Henry Fisher from Cowley near Cheltenham was killed  in action in his first battle in the trenches at Loos, Northern France, on 13 October, 1915 aged 21. Below is his last letter home to his sister, written a few days before he was killed.

 

Private William Henry Fisher, aged 21,  from Cowley near Cheltenham.


William Fisher's last letter home to his sister - written on 4 October 1915.

In his last letter home William Fishers continues: "I have seen some Germans, I had to help guard them down at the hospital, they are some big fellows."


The last page of William Fisher's last letter home to his sister in October 1915.

The envelope shows that the letter was posted on 8 October 1915, just five days before Private Fisher was killed.


Private Fisher's war medals - the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

William Fisher's Memorial Death Plaque, commonly 

known as the 'Death Penny'.



Private William Henry Fisher volunteered for the Glosters in April 1915 but his part in the Great War was to be short-lived. The 21 year old from Cowley Manor died in the trenches at Loos in Northern France on October 13 in his first battle.

He served with the 10th Battalion of the Glosters and is remembered on the memorial at Loos, but he has no known grave.

However, we can get a glimpse into his life and what he endured more than 90 years ago on the Western Front by reading the letters he sent home to his family in the months up until his death.

The collection of letters - written in pencil on flimsy paper - is now held by the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum in Gloucester.

Letter writing to sweethearts and family was an extremely important part of a soldier's links to his home during the First World War and receiving a letter from home was a big boost to morale. William Fisher's letters tell of the day-to-day happenings in the life of a young man far away from home.

In June 1915 he wrote: "They are busy hay making round here, good crops too. We are going to our trenches Monday for 24 hours so we shall have a night in them, we are going to blow them up I think so that we will be all right, we shall make the dust fly when we starts."

On 19 August, shortly after arriving in France, he wrote to his sister: "We are not so very far off the firing line, so our time will come to have our revenge on the Germans."

William didn't take part in the first major battle of Loos on 25 September because he was in hospital after catching mumps, but he wrote that a lot of his battalion had been killed or wounded. "I daresay you will see it in the paper," he said, adding: "There is not many of our officers left."

Private Fisher died in the next battle on 13 October. He was one of an estimated 60,000 casualties at Loos out of a total British force of 250,000.









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