Soldier Spotlight: George Fish

Image: George Fish bringing in the sheaves. The sheaves a piled on a wagon pulled by a team of two horses. ca. 1935 (SPRA 116.09.01.01.0351)

Rank: Cook
Branch: Navy

George Henry Fish, who was born on January 7, 1907 in Lewisham, London, England, immigrated to Canada with his family in 1919. The family settled in Grande Prairie, Alberta where George worked at various jobs until 1926 at which time he filed a homestead application on land that bordered the Smoky River in an area of Bezanson known as Fitzsimmons. As he had learned carpentry skills from his father, he built a small house on his property and assisted his neighbors in the construction of their homes. George eventually cancelled the Fitzsimmons land application and applied for a homestead on NE-26-73-2-W6 in the Goodwin area in May 1932. He built a comfortable log house and worked off his farm during the summer months. In 1938, he purchased a trap-line, traps and cabins; the income from which was used to subsidize and improve the farm. George loved to play his harmonica at social events and was well-known for his cooking and housekeeping skills. On October 23, 1942, George answered the call of duty to Country and enlisted with the Navy at the H.M.C.S. Nosuch, a land-based naval establishment in Edmonton. George received his basic training at various naval bases; H.M.C.S. Discovery at Vancouver, British Columbia; H.M.C.S. Tecumseh at Calgary, Alberta and H.M.C.S. Naden at Esquimalt, British Columbia following which he served with the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve attached to the H.M.C.S. Chebogue as a Cook during the Second World War. The H.M.C.S. Chebogue was assigned to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force. On October 4, 1944, on the ship’s second return trip to Canada, it was hit by a torpedo from the U-1227 submarine of the German Kreigsmarine when it was only 800 miles from the British Isles. Seven men were killed in the explosion of which George was one. Cook George Henry Fish was buried at sea the following day and is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial, Nova Scotia.

Son of Henry Richard Fish and Annie Elizabeth (nee Amner) Fish of Grande Prairie, Alberta; brother of Norah Annie (nee Fish) Paul and Muriel J. (nee Fish) Cobb; he was 37 years old.

Citations: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, War Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Medal with Clasp.

Written by Wanda Zenner
January 2019

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.