Lt. Charles H. Fiske III was a member of the Harvard class of 1919. His student career was interrupted by his service in World War I, and it was brought to an end by his death on the front lines in France in August 1919.
Although Fiske passed his entrance exams to Harvard, he first went abroad to travel with his family. When war broke out, he discarded his travel plans and entered Trinity College. There, he had his first military training in the R.O.T.C. "From the first moment that the war broke, he was strong in his sympathy for the Allied cause," according to a memoir of Fiske published in the 25th anniversary report of the Class of 1919.
Fiske returned to the U.S. to enter Harvard in the fall of 1915 and completed his freshman year. After attending Plattsburg Training Camp in July of 1916, Fiske joined the American Ambulance Field Service. He was sent to Pont-a-Mousson and then went to Macedonia with the French Army. In understated diction, the memoirist of the Class of 1919 remarks: "That winter in the Balkans taught him the severities of serious warfare."
Fiske returned to Harvard in 1917 for the first part of his junior year. In January 1918, he left for officer's training camp, and in July he received his commission as second lieutenant and was ordered to Paris to join a combat division. Seven days after his arrival at the front lines, he was severely wounded in a battle of the Oise-Aisne offensive. He died on August 24, 1919.
Russell Parsons, a Harvard classmate, recalled, "When Charlie returned to Europe in 1918, he was with a group of men who were full of the joy of life and keen for adventure but who had little realization of where they were going. He knew; he had been there before, and yet was the most joyous of them all. His was not the courage of ignorance but the courage of a man who seemed not to know personal fear."
In memory of their son, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Fiske Jr. established the Fiske Scholarship for study at Trinity College. They also arranged a scholarship to be awarded to a student of French nationality to study at Harvard. In 1934, Mr. Fiske asked that the terms of this second scholarship be changed; the funds now support the Fiske Scholar at Trinity College.
For more information about the college, please visit Trinity College's website.