Lieutenant Charles Dennis FISHER
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Date of birth: 19 June 1877
Date of death: 31 May 1916
Killed in action aged 38
No known grave
Charles Dennis was born at Blatchington, Sussex, one of the eleven children of Herbert William Fisher and his wife Mary Louisa Jackson.
His father served as the personal tutor to the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, during his undergraduate studies at Christ Church and from 1860-70, acted as his private secretary. In 1870 he was appointed Vice-Warden of the Stannaries.
Charles was a Scholar at Christ Church in 1901, became a Student of the College and served as Senior Censor 1910-14. He played cricket for Oxford University and Sussex. At the outbreak of the War he joined the Red Cross and served as an orderly and interpreter on the Western Front. In August 1915 he joined the Royal Navy. Serving on HMS Invincible with the rank of Lieutenant, he was killed at the battle of Jutland on May 31st 1916.
HMS Invincible was a battle cruiser of the British Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class of three, and the first battle cruiser to be built by any country in the world. She participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in a minor role as she was the oldest and slowest of the British battle cruisers present. She fired on the light cruiser Köln, but did not hit her before Köln was sunk by the battle cruiser Lion. During the Battle of the Falkland Islands Invincible and her sister Inflexible sank the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau almost without loss to themselves, despite numerous hits by the German ships.
She was the flagship of the 3rd Battle cruiser Squadron during the Battle of Jutland. The squadron had been detached from Admiral Beatty's Battle cruiser Fleet a few days before the battle for gunnery practice with the Grand Fleet, and acted as its heavy scouting force during the battle. She was destroyed by a magazine explosion during the battle after 'Q' turret was penetrated. There were only six survivors of the explosion which destroyed HMS Invincible, and no bodies were recovered. Charles is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Ref. 24.
His Estate amounted to £4679 0s 2d, probate granted to Herbert Arthur Laurens Fisher, vice-chancellor University of Sheffield.
Of his siblings, Edmund (1871-1918), an architect, also died on active service; Sir William Wordsworth Fisher (1875-1937) joined the Royal Navy in 1890 and rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral; Adeline (1870-1951) married the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams; Edwin (1883-1947) became Chairman of Barclays Bank; Herbert was a politician and, later, Warden of New College, Oxford; Florence Henrietta married F.W. Maitland and, after his death, Sir Francis Darwin son of Charles Darwin. He was a first cousin of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. His mother’s family included a number of prominent Victorian figures, notably her aunt Julia Margaret Cameron. Her sister, Cordelia (1879-1970) married the traveller and writer Richard Curle Her correspondence with additional papers of H.A.L. Fisher and additional Fisher family papers, 1810, 1844, 1862-1957, 1972, 1992 are in the Bodleian Library.
Reference: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Summary Catalogue of Post-Medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford. Acquisitions 1916-1975, (Oxford, 1991), vol. II, nos. 46901-47151