Letters relating to the death of Frank Reinhardt Fischer, 1918

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Accession Number AWM2016.30.56
Collection number 1DRL/0288
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type File
Item count 13
Object type Letters
Physical description 28 Image/s captured
Maker Various
Place made Australia, France, United Kingdom
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Attached digital images and content are protected by copyright. They are reproduced here for research and study only. If you wish to use or quote from these images, please contact the Memorial’s Research Centre via info@awm.gov.au or 02 6243 4315.
Description

Letters relating to the death of Lieutenant Frank Reinhardt Fischer, 6th Battalion. Fischer was killed in action on 10 August 1918 near Lihons during the Battle of Amiens. Most of the letters are written by fellow officers who were close to and/or served with him. The majority are addressed to Fischer’s sister, Elsie Mary Fischer, a famous opera singer who went by the name Elsa Stralia. The remaining letters are written to his brother Hugo Fischer as the family had lost both parents before the outbreak of the war. These letters detail that Fischer was asked to join a divisional concert party due to his remarkable voice but refused as he wanted to serve in the front line. One of the writers, Second Lieutenant James Barker, writes that Fischer had rescued him after he had been shot through the chest during the morning advance of 10 August, tying up his wounds and then leaving to continue the advance. The details of Fischer’s death and burial are covered by several letters, one detailing that he was buried alongside two other battalion officers that were killed that day, Lieutenants Harold Collins and Sidney Alexander Thomson. One of the writers, Chaplain George Walter Carter, personally performed the burial while another, Lieutenant Donald William Maclachlan, personally took Fischer’s belongings off his body to send home. The authors are severely impacted by Fischer’s death, and one, Lieutenant George Simpson, would be killed in action only a few days after writing his letter of condolence. Included is an Australian Imperial Force (AIF) memorial card with a photograph of the grave. This file contains:
Letter of condolence from Lieutenant Abraham Murdoch Gillies to Elsa Stralia, France, 11 August 1918;
Letter from Lieutenant Abraham Murdoch Gillies to Brigadier Harold Edward 'Pompey' Elliott, France, 12 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Captain Charles Henry Gould to Elsa Stralia, France, 17 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Second Lieutenant James Barker [to Elsa Stralia], 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 17 September 1918;
Letter of condolence from Lieutenant George Simpson to Elsa Stralia, France, 18 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Lieutenant Donald William Maclachlan to Elsa Stralia, France, 19 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Captain Harold Francis Darby to Elsa Stralia, France, 19 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Lieutenant Thomas Giles Paul to Elsa Stralia, France, 20 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Chaplain George Walter Carter to Elsa Stralia, France, 20 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Chaplain George Walter Carter to Hugo Fischer, France, 20 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Louise Marion Brockwell [mother of 7446 Lance Corporal Frederic George Brockwell] to Hugo Fischer, Geelong, 23 August 1918;
Letter of condolence from Captain Harold Francis Darby to Hugo Fischer, Warminster, England, 20 December 1918;
AIF memorial card depicting the grave of Frank Reinhardt Fischer, n.d.