Fish was born in Dorset, England in 1830 and arrived at Fort Victoria aboard the Norman Morison along with numerous others 'of the labouring class' on March 24, 1850. It's not clear if Finlayson and Douglas expected the arrival of a contingent of 60 to 80 men [60 according to Judith Hudson Beattie and 80 according to John Sebastian Helmcken] and the combination of makeshift accommodation and unseasonably cold and wet weather resulted in much dissatisfaction amongst the new arrivals. On April 15 Finlayson wrote: "Some of the new recruits from England refused to work for a part of this day because it was raining." Six weeks later, a party of seven men, including Fish, deserted; but, apparently, were recaptured later the same day. In July of the following year Fish had his hand blown off as a consequence of a salute fired by a carronade from the bastion in greeting the arrival of the Tory – a ship arriving from England with his two brothers on board. Dr. Helmcken, who was apparently present, wrote: "Poor fellow he died of ensuing mortification, although I amputated his arm twice."