Tom Brown Fisher

Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918

Tom Brown Fisher was born on 10 October 1893 at Hallfield Farm, on Strawberry Lee Lane, Totley. He was the youngest child of Francis and Emma Fisher (nee Hill). He had two brothers, Frank and George, and three sisters, Mary, Annie and Jane (Jessie).

Cross Scythes
EnlargeCross Scythes
Lane Head Cottages
EnlargeLane Head Cottages
Tom's grandfather, Thomas Fisher, came to Totley from Brampton around 1836 and became the publican and farmer at The Cross Scythes before moving to Hallfield Farm where he lived from about 1843 until his death in 1885.

Francis Fisher, Tom's father, inherited the farm but he died in 1895 at the age of 57. By 1901 Hallfield Farm was being run by Eliza Fisher, the widow of Francis's elder brother John and Tom was living in a cottage at Lane Head, Totley with his sister Jessie and mother Emma who was supporting them by working as a charwoman.

Tom was enrolled at Totley All Saints School in March 1898 when he was 4 1/2 years old. In August 1907 he left school to begin work on a local farm.

He was fondly remembered by local man Archie Thomas (1903-1991) who wrote:

“In the bottom cottage in the 3 on Baslow Road lived Mrs Fisher. To my brother and I there was no-one like her in the world, she had 3 sons at home and the youngest daughter Jess; 3 other daughters being out in service. Jess later became Mrs Joshua Tyzack - an affair of which I probably have more knowledge than any other living person! I loved the youngest son, Tom, and one of my earliest recollections of him (when I was about 3 years old) is of him taking me by the hand one dark winter’s evening and going to Ash Cottage where he milked a couple of cows for an elderly Mr and Mrs Hattersley.. When he took the milk to the house he was given about a half-gallon can of morning milk for his mother. I used to go with him when he was mowing and sit on his knees on the machine for hours at a time, while he mowed the land where Main Avenue, Rowan Tree Dell and all that property now stands.”

This mowing machine would have been horse-drawn at this period, of course. By the time of the 1911 census, Tom had moved out to Beeley where he was working as a cowman at Moor Farm.

Tom Fisher's Army Service Record was among the 60% destroyed during the Blitz in WW2 so it is not known when he originally joined the army. When he enlisted in the Derbyshire Yeomanry in Totley his residence was given as Holmsfield so it would seem that he had moved back to work in the local area by the early years of WW1.

At some point he was transferred to the 6th Dragoons (Inniskilling) and on 1 December 1917 he took part in the cavalry charge south of Villers Guislain. The Dragoons were cut down by heavy machine-gun fire and shrapnel and 169 of them died along with 271 horses.

Tom Fisher was among those who died. His body was never found but he is remembered on Panel 1 of the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval.

Totley War Memorial Project Group