Val Kerr (niece of Ada Douglass) with sons Ian, Richard and David at Ada Douglas’s grave at the Blackbutt-Benarkin cemetery. (Picture: Contributed)
Val Kerr (niece of Ada Douglass) with sons Ian, Richard and David at Ada Douglas’s grave at the Blackbutt-Benarkin cemetery. (Picture: Contributed)

South Burnett veteran remembered 104 years after he fell

Sent in by Richard and David Kerr.

Exactly 104 years after falling in the of battle of Pozieres in France, a Blackbutt Lance Sergeant has been remembered in a ceremony in his home town.

Lance Sergeant Archibald Fisher was killed in action on 23 July 1916 and his fiance Ada Douglass lays peacefully in the Blackbutt-Benarkin cemetery.

On July 23 2020, 90 years after Ada was notified of Archies death, her niece Valma Mary Kerr and sons Ian, Richard, David and daughter Amanda placed pebbles from the Pozieres site on her grave.

Archie served in the 9th Battalion in World War 1.

He had arrived in France in March 1916 after evacuation from Gallipoli and spending time recuperating from paratyphoid fever.

 

Archibald Fisher served in the 9th battalion. (Picture: Contributed)
Archibald Fisher served in the 9th battalion. (Picture: Contributed)

The 9th Battalion was part of the three Australian divisions who were to spearhead the assault on the town of Pozieres in northern France.

The battle commenced just after midnight on the morning of Sunday, July 23, 1916.

The first stage was a ferocious bombardment after which the Australian Diggers, many of whom were from country areas and were considered the most hardened, rushed forward into battle.

At around 2am Archie died as part of that first assault at a site just past the Pozieres Windmill.

He was one of 23,000 Australians who died over 6 weeks on Pozieres ridge and one of around 62,000 killed during World War 1.

Archie's family received notification of his death on the 15th August 1916.

While this delay seems long by today's standards, it was only the beginning of a long heartbreaking period for the family.

Archie had lived for around 10 years with John and Mary Jane Douglas at "Chestnuts", Blackbutt.

 

Ada Douglas.
Ada Douglas.

John Douglas regarded Archie as his adopted son.

His origins are unclear although his enlistment records state he was born at Manly Beach Sydney in around 1886.

At the time of his enlistment in March 1915, at the age of 28, Archie was engaged to John and Mary Jane's daughter Ada.

The family was devastated by Archie's death, but it was made even more difficult as his body was missing.

It was not until late 1929 when a body was exhumed from the site of the Pozieres battle that the process of closure would begin.

The family was notified in February 1930.

After the exhumation, Archie was buried in Serre Road No. 2 Cemetery Hébuterne, France.

In 2018, Ada Douglass' great nephew Richard Kerr and wife Amanda visited Pozieres and the surrounding battlefields.

Richard gathered some pebbles from the location of Archie's death.

On 23 July 2020, some 104 years to the day after he fell, and two days short of 90 years after Ada was notified "her Archie" had been found, Richard, Amanda and Ada's niece, Valma Mary Kerr stood by Ada's grave.

There they laid those few pebbles at Ada's side.

Archie Fisher is remembered on the Blackbutt War Memorial and on the honour board within the Blackbutt RSL.

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