Born in Ceylon in 1841, Fisher entered the navy at 13. He saw active service as a midshipman in the Crimean War (1854-56) and in China (1859-60).
He was promoted to captain in 1874, and commanded various ships and the gunnery school. In 1882 he was captain of the battleship "Inflexible", and took a prominent part in the bombardment of Alexandria.
He was appointed to the board of the admiralty in 1892 as third sea lord and controller of the navy. He was knighted in 1894.
Fisher was commander in chief of the North American and West Indies station in 1897-99. He represented British naval interests at the Hauge peace conference, and then became commander in chief of the Mediterranean fleet.
He returned to the admiralty in 1902, and was primarily responsible for a major change in the way naval officers were recruited and trained.
In 1904 he went to the admiralty again,
this time as first sea lord. He was created Baron Fisher of Kilverstone
in 1909, and he retired in January of 1910.
Fisher remained in retirement until October, 1914 when he was recalled to be first sea lord on the resignation of Prince Louis of Battenberg.
He was responsible for the creation of the battleship "Dreadnaught", and the lightly armored "Invincible" battle cruiser.
Fisher was a bold personality, with no fear of politicians. Although he could present his ideas logically, he often got his way on the strength of slogans and verbal explosions (often riddled with biblical imagery).