John Fisher, known as Jackie, was born in 1841. He had a very distinguished naval career, which culminated in his appointment as First Sea Lord in 1904: he set about bringing the British Navy up to date in preparation for war. He is best known for his ‘Dreadnought’ programme of building new capital ships to match any navy in the world. He also built torpedo boats and submarines to defend Britain against possible invasion.
Fisher retired in 1910, but his voice was so important that he was called back after the war broke out – at the age of 73! He returned to his duties in October 1914, but resigned in May 1915 after disputes about sending ships to the Dardanelles.
Fisher lived for many years at Kilverstone, near Thetford. When he was promoted to the peerage in 1909, he chose to take the title of Baron Fisher of Kilverstone. His beloved wife Frances died there in 1919, and he followed in 1920: his ashes are buried in Kilverstone churchyard, where there is a memorial to this naval hero.
He is credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with the earliest use of OMG for ‘OH MY GOD!’ which appears in a letter he wrote in 1917 – a Norfolk man who was far ahead of his time!