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This article was researched and written by Steve Wilson.

Bernard Weston Fish was born on 26th October 1884 the son of William Henry Fish of 5, West Park Road, Blackburn, Lancashire and Marion Fish (nee Dimmock).

He was the eldest child of the couple with a sister Hilary Marion (1889) and younger brother Raymond Carpenter Fish (1893).

His father was a prominent local cotton manufacturer and a Justice of the Peace.

In 1891 and 1901 the family resided at 5 West Park Road, Blackburn. By 1911 the family had relocated to 14, Lulworth Road, Birkdale. At this date Bernard Fish’s occupation is described as a general merchant.

The young Fish was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire (1899-1902) where he was in Bevir’s House. He went up to Wadham College, Oxford in the autumn of 1903. He attained a pass degree whilst there.

Fish coxed the Wadham Eight rowing team in 1904 and 1905, weighing in at just 8st 41bs. He still found time to pursue his studies, taking his BA in 1906.

With the outbreak of the Great War he volunteered for the Army and on 2nd November 1914, at the age of 30, he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. as a Private (No. 2006) in H Company.

Fish was subsequently commissioned into his county regiment, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, as a Second Lieutenant on 9th January 1915.

Promotion to Lieutenant came on 20th June of the same year and he was posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion of The Loyals with which he went to France, landing at Boulogne on 16th September 1915.

The Battalion was soon in action. By 26th October it was part of 7th Brigade in 25th Division.

On 15th May 1916 Fish received promotion to Temporary Captain and was given command of B Company.

The War Diary describes the following action Captain Fish received the MC for as follows:

31st July 1916: On the night of 31 July CAPT B.W .FISH and Sgt H. Holmes made a very good reconnaissance starting out from our right Coy at 10.30pm. The patrol remained out altogether until 1.50am making three separate journeys. The ground between various parts held by us was thoroughly reconnoitred, notably between LANCASHIRE POST and CROW’s NEST POST and between PICTUREDROME POST and the enemy’s first line of wire. The GOC Division expressed himself very pleased with the way in which this patrol was carried out. …

The War Diary includes the report compiled by Captain Fish along with a sketch plan.

(The 8th Battalion were in reserve on the 1st July 1916 on the Somme and subsequently were involved in attacks around Ovillers on the 9th/10th July incurring heavy casualties. On the 31st July the Battalion were in trenches north of the River Ancre)

The War Diary dated the 31 August 1916 states that CAPT FISH received the Military Cross for this action and Sgt 15779 Holmes the Military Medal.

Captain Bernard Weston Fish MC

The medals of Captain B W Fish

Fish’s Military Cross was gazetted on 22nd September 1916. The citation, somewhat bland compared with the detail contained in the official documentation in connection with the events, reads:

‘For conspicuous gallantry. With a serjeant he carried out three dangerous and successful reconnaissance’s, returning with most useful information.’

Following the reconnaissance unsuccessful attempts were made to establish an advanced position as identified on the night of the 1st/2nd August.

A further attempt was made on the following evening of the 3rd but it was found the location was occupied by the Germans. On sighting the advancing patrol they withdrew and the area was then hit with three minenwerfer bombs.

Captain Fish sustained a serious injury to his right knee on the 14th August. It is unclear how this injury was sustained. The injury was sufficiently serious for him to be returned to England for treatment:

Fish was destined never to return to the Front again. He spent many months in England recovering from his injury culminating in his discharge from the Army on the 13th January 1918.

In addition to his Military Cross, Fish received the 1914-15 Star (LIEUT L.N.LAN.R) and the British War Medal and Victory Medal (CAPT). The trio was issued to him on 31st October 1921.

In 1921 at St Peter’s, Cranley Gardens, London SW, Fish married Irene Violet, the daughter of Evelyn Gray (a Barrister and formerly of the Indian Civil Service). There was one child of the marriage, a daughter Daphne Auriol.

In 1939 Fish and his wife were living at 22, Norton Road, Hove, Sussex.

Bernard Weston Fish died on 19th April 1949 at Thames Bank Nursing Home, Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. He was 64 years old.

In his will dated 13th September 1939 he left estate in excess of £19,000 gross, a substantial sum for the period.

Paul McCormick
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