Collie-Cardiff RSL remembers local Fisher brothers

48th Australian Infantry Battalion

The 48th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 16 March 1916 as part of the "doubling" of the AIF. Roughly half of its new recruits were Gallipoli veterans from the 16th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. As with the 16th, the men of the new battalion hailed mainly from regional South Australia and Western Australia. The 48th's first major battle on the Western Front was Pozieres. Here, it was tasked with defending ground captured in earlier attacks by the 2nd Division and entered the firing line on two separate occasions, 5 to 7 and 12 to 15 August. During the former period the battalion endured what was said to be heaviest artillery barrage ever experienced by Australian troops and suffered 598 casualties (A Battalion in WW1 consisted of around 1000 men, in two days the 48th Battalion had lost over half its strength). Among those casualties were 'Collie Boys', brothers, Osborne and Walter Stanley FISHER.

From the History of the 48th Battalion:

"It is dawn on 7 August 1916 near the Windmill, on Pozieres heights. In this huge shell crater shelter the survivors of an outpost of the 48th Battalion. In the previous 36 hours there has been yet another terrible German bombardment. In their tour of duty at Pozieres heights, the noted Australian Historian, Charles Bean, talked of the 'shattering loss' of the 48th Battalion through shell fire: 598 men. The Australian War Memorial's 'Roll of Honour' reveals that 134 of these had been killed in action, and the rest we assume, were the wounded. It was described as 'the heaviest and most systematic bombardment the Australians ever had to endure in the 1914-1918 war'. This crater was but one of six 48th Battalion outposts in front of the old German trench lines which had all but been pounded out of existence."

The Fisher brothers were part of the fresh reinforcements sent to Egypt in early 1916. Osborne the older brother was taken on strength of the 48th Battalion in March 1916, whilst Walter joined him in April 1916. Osborne, a farm hand, had lived with his mother, Elizabeth Fisher on Sunny Slope farm, Collie. Walter was working as a sawmill labourer in Mundijong when he enlisted. The brothers were killed together on the same day, 6th August 1916, at the 'Windmill', Pozieres, France, Osborne was 39 years of age, younger brother Walter was 31 years of age. Like most soldiers killed during that bombardment, the brothers had no marked grave. They are remembered together on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

'Lest We Forget'