Fisher, William (1780-1852) (DNB00)

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FISHER, WILLIAM (1780–1852), rear-admiral, second son of John Fisher of Yarmouth, Norfolk, was born on 18 Nov. 1780, and entered the navy in 1795. After serving in the North Sea, at the Cape of Good Hope, and in the Mediterranean, and as acting lieutenant of the Foudroyant on the coast of Egypt, he was confirmed in the rank on 3 Sept. 1801. In 1805 he was lieutenant of the Superb during the chase of Villeneuve to the West Indies; and in 1806 was promoted to be commander. In 1808 he commanded the Racehorse of 18 guns in the Channel, and in the same ship, in 1809-10, was employed in surveying in the Mozambique. In March 1811 he was promoted to post-rank, and in 1816-17 commanded in succession the Bann and Cherub, each of 20 guns, on the coast of Guinea, in both of which he captured several slavers and pirates, some of them after a desperate resistance. From March 1836 to May 1841 he commanded the Asia in the Mediterranean, and in 1840, during the operations on the coast of Syria [see {{sc|Stopford, Sir Robert], was employed as senior officer of the detached squadron off Alexandria, with the task of keeping open the mail communication through Egypt. For this service he received the Turkish gold medal and diamond decoration. He had no further service afloat, but became, in due course, a rear-admiral in 1847. During his retirement he wrote two novels : 'The Petrel, or Love on the Ocean' (1850), which passed through three editions, and 'Ralph Rutherford, a Nautical Romance' (1851). He died in London, on 30 Sept. 1852. A man who had been so long in the navy during a very stirring period, who had surveyed the Mozambique, and captured slavers and pirates, had necessarily plenty of adventures at command, which scarcely needed the complications of improbable love stories to make them interesting; but the author had neither the constructive skill nor the literary talent necessary for writing a good novel, and his language throughout is exaggerated and stilted to the point of absurdity.

Fisher married, in 1810, Elizabeth, sister of Sir James Rivett Carnac, bart., governor of Bombay, by whom he had two children, a daughter and a son.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1852, new ser. xxxviii. 634.]

J. K. L.