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Death of a Local Hero : Major Charles Edward Fysh DSO MC and Bar. Killed in Action on the Marne, France July 28th 1918




Major Charles Edward Fysh
Major Charles Edward Fysh (1894-1918)
Located alongside one of the inner pathways in Ladywell cemetery lies the headstone (see photograph below) on which the name of Major Charles Edward Fysh is inscribed with those of his parents. He was with British troops taking part in Marshal Foch’s large scale and highly successful counter offensive of the River Marne in July 1918, which proved to be the start of an unbroken series of Allied successes termed 'The Hundred Days Offensive' lasting until the November 11th Armistice.

The headstone will be visited on a Guided Walk: The Final Push on Sunday 9th September 2pm – 3.30pm. The walk commemorates  the final efforts to end the First World War and will visit other relevant headstones and memorials.
Headstone with name of Major Charles Edward Fysh inscribed alongside those of his parents.
It was whilst serving with the 6th battalion Seaforth Highlanders that he was killed on 28 July 1918 at Chaumuzy on the Marne while holding the rank of Acting Lieutenant Colonel. He had attended Colfe's School from 1906-1911 and was 23 when he was killed having earlier joined the Seaforth Highlanders on the outbreak of war from his university Officer Training Corps.  The London Gazette of 24 July 1917 carries the citation for his first Military Cross : “ For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in leading his company in a successful counter-attack upon the enemy. He afterwards personally reconnoitred and cleared up the situation in front of his line, taking command of another company which had lost its commander and establishing strong posts and communication with both flanks. His promptness and initiative were most marked. ”

His second MC was Gazetted on 23 July 1918 :”For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. It was mainly owing to this officer's courage and determination in command of a company that the line held throughout two days' fighting. He continued his fine work during the three following days, constantly exposed to machine-gun fire, and by encouraging his men inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

The citation for his Distinguished Service Order Gazetted on 13 September 1918 reads : “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in command of his battalion in action. He displayed great capabilities for organisation, rallying men of other units and leading them forward through heavy fire to posts from which they were able to inflict severe loss on the enemy. He made repeated reconnaissances to the front and flanks, regardless of his own safety, and on one occasion it was mainly due to his good work that the enemy failed to effect a crossing over a canal.”

He is buried in the churchyard of the village of St Imoges near Epernay
(Inline image)  churchyard of the village of St Imoges near Epernay

The Fysh family have a very distinguished lineage - one relative Sir Philip Oakley Fysh became Premier of Tasmania and another was Sir Wilmot Hudson Fysh, KBE, DFC who became a famous Australian aviator during the Great War in the Middle Eastern Campaigns and was the founder of the Australian airline company Qantas
Inline image