Capt James Canfield Fisher


Capt James Canfield Fisher

Arlington, Bennington County, Vermont, USA
Death 31 Jan 1945 (aged 31)
Nueva Ecija Province, Central Luzon, Philippines
Burial Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot D, Row 4, Grave 179
Memorial ID 56782326 View Source

James C. Fisher
Captain, U.S. Army, Service # 0-476012
Battalion Surgeon, 6th Ranger Battalion, 6th Army
Entered the Service from: Vermont
Wounded: 30 January 1945, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija Province, Philippines
Died of Wounds: 31 January 1945, Plateros, Nueva Ecija Province, Philippines
Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart

1920 US Census: Arlington, Bennington County, Vermont - James Fisher (6 1/12 Vermont)

James C. Fisher, M.D., was a graduate of Swarthmore College, Class of 1936.
Senior Statistics - JAMES CANFIELD FISHER, Oakwood School (Oldenwaldschule), Physiology-Zoology. Soccer J. V. (II); Varsity (III, IV); Chairman of Executive Committee, Non-Fraternity Men; Chorus (I, II); Glee Club (II); German Club (I, II); Vice-President of Trotter Biological Society (IV); Sigma Xi.

In June 1935 he married Eleanor Bodine. She graduated from Vassar College. in 1936.

He went on to Harvard University Medical School, where he earned his degree in medicine, class of 1939.

James Canfield Fisher (26 Vermont) is found in the 1940 United States Federal Census (April 1940) for Wellesley, Norfolk County, Massachusetts (sheet 62A, 46 Fiske Road) along with his wife, Eleanor Bochin Fisher (25 Pennsylvania, Teacher, Child Psychology at a Private Junior College). James had completed 5 years of college, Eleanor finished 4 years of college. He had lived in rural Bennington County, Vermont in 1935, Eleanor had lived in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, He was an intern at a hospital.

Jimmy "had three years of experience as an intern, in the Boston hospitals, and volunteered for service in the Army Medical Corps. After training in this country, he volunteered again for active service in the Orient...." Source: Keeping Fires Night and Day: Selected Letters of Dorothy Canfield Fisher by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, 1993, page 275.

In late 1944, the young doctor found himself (along with tens of thousands of other young Americans) part of General Douglas MacArthur's Philippine invasion force. Capt. James Canfield Fisher, M.D., U.S. Army Medical Corps served with the Alamo Scouts for three months at the end of 1944, following which he was assigned to the Army's elite 6th Ranger Battalion. "Just call me Dr. Jimmy," was his oft-repeated introduction to the rangers. When not attending to his battalion's medical needs, "Doc Jimmy" was delivering babies and providing much-needed medical services to countless Filipinos.

From FRANK DEXTER, War Correspondent of THE ARGUS on Luzon

"Captain James C. Fisher, a doctor in the US Army Medical Corps, will be godfather today to a Filipino baby he delivered to a 19-year-old mother by candle light on Thursday night.

Captain Fisher was playing cards in his tent when called urgently to a hut in the village. Assisted by an old woman and old man, he delivered a 6lb baby boy on the floor of the hut. It was the first confinement he had attended in four years.

The overjoyed family is preparing to celebrate the birth with a feast, which will follow the christening in the little church in the village" Source: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Saturday 20 January 1945, page 24

Along with 128 6th Rangers & Alamo Scouts and several hundred Filipino guerrillas, Captain Fisher was part of the Great Raid on the Cabanatuan Japanese POW Camp, thirty miles behind the enemy lines, that freed 516 POW's on 30 January 1945. He had elected to go on the raid rather than wait at the guerrilla base camp in the nearby town of Platero, as he felt that the POWs' medical needs would be more immediate.

"Capt. James C. Fisher ... was our medical officer, and he came up to the main gate to help the wounded. Captain Fisher, son of the novelist, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, was a fine man, one of the best." Source: Saturday Evening Post, April 7, 1945, "We Swore We'd Die or Do It" by Henry A. Mucci, Lieutenant Colonel, USA Army.

Twelve minutes into the attack, the Rangers suffered their first casualties when a lone Japanese soldier was able to fire off three light mortar rounds which landed near the main gate. Although members of F Company quickly located the soldier and killed him, six men were wounded in the attack. Battalion surgeon Capt. James Fisher, the well-liked and highly respected physician was mortally injured in the stomach and was carried to the nearby village of Balincarin. Scout Alfred Alfonso had a shrapnel wound to his abdomen. Scout Lt. Tom Rounsaville and Ranger Pvt. 1st Class Jack Peters were also wounded by the barrage.

In a makeshift hospital, Scout Alfonso and Ranger Fisher were quickly put into surgery. The shrapnel was removed from Alfonso's abdomen, and he was expected to recover. Fisher's shrapnel was also removed, but with limited supplies and widespread damage to both his stomach and intestines, it was decided more extensive surgery would need to be completed in an American hospital. At one point he became conscious and asked: "The prisoners - did we get them all?" "Every last one of them." was the reply. His last words were "Good luck on the way out." The 32-year-old doctor died the next day before he could be evacuated to get additional medical attention. Source:
"With Captain Fisher mortally wounded (from a Japanese mortar fragment), the task of providing medical aid to him and the other casualties fell to a husband and wife doctor team from Platero and to Fisher's four medics. After the war, Fisher's mother, the noted author and educator Dorothy Canfield Fisher, arranged for the couple to do post-graduate studies at Harvard Medical School, her son's alma mater." Source:

"Some of the scouts stayed behind to bring in the last nine of the prisoners who were freed, and the wounded Rangers. They saw the Filipinos bury Captain Fisher. There was a Filipino doctor who stayed with Captain Fisher, trying to help him, and who gave him plasma. But the captain died near Platero about eleven o'clock on the morning after the attack. His spirit won the admiration of all of us.

Filipino guerrillas with escort scouts took him to a little knoll where there was a palm grove about 100 yards square. There was a Catholic chaplain, 1st Lt. Hugh F. Kennedy ... who was one of the prisoners set free at the camp. Father Kennedy stayed behind with the scouts and conducted a funeral service for Captain Fisher in the grove. The Filipinos attached his tags to a little cross and put up a sign at the entrance to his grave, naming it Doctor Fisher memorial. " Source: Saturday Evening Post, April 7, 1945, "We Swore We'd Die or Do It" by Henry A. Mucci, Lieutenant Colonel, USA Army

"Before he succumbed to death, he was nursed by the men and women of Barrio Balangkare even at the risk of their lives. He was buried at Barrio Platero, on the donated plot of Drs. Carlos and Julita Layug; Dr. Carlos Layug being the medical officer of the Filipino Guerillas. The Memorial still standing today holds the inscription written by his mother, Dorothy Canfield with the final words: "May the memory of the dangers shared and the blood they shed together unite our peoples forever. Men die... the spirit lives!" Source:

His body was later transferred to the Manila American Cemetery.

After his death, Eleanor Bodine Fisher married Thomas MacHia in 1949. Thomas MacHia served as a U.S. Navy Ensign during World War II. Eleanor was with the American Red Cross in Europe and later was a director of the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia.

To read more about the Great Raid see:
1945 Raid on Cabanatuan
Alamo Scouts Photos including some of CPT James Fisher, M.D.

Gravesite Details

Entered the service from Vermont.

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  • Maintained by: steve s
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56782326
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt James Canfield Fisher (22 Dec 1913–31 Jan 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 56782326, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by steve s (contributor 47126287) .