MARSH, Charles Spencer

108372, Private, Charles Spencer MARSH
Aged 27

1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (Saskatchewan Rifles.)
Killed in Action on Friday 2nd June 1916

He is not named on the Newmarket War Memorial

Born in Barrow on 30th October 1888 [Thingoe 4a:661] to Harry and Jessie MARSH (née HOLMES). In the 1881 census his father Henry MARSH [27][(born Canterbury) was a racehorse trainer at 44 Bennetthorpe, Doncaster with his mother Jessie[27] (born Newmarket, they had married in Newmarket in 1879) and their two sons at that time were Harry [1] and Richard P [4 months]. His sister Jessie Beatrice was born in Barrow in Q4-1883.

1891 census...None of the family has been positively identified.

1901 census...Charles [14] was a pupil at Cranleigh School, Hambledon, Surrey. There was also a Newmarket born George Owen MARSH [13]at the school, maybe his brother ? His widower father was at Park Lane, Newmarket with his brother Harry [18] a jockey, and sister Jessie. No record of his mother's death has been found.

1911 census...His father and sister Jessie were at Park Lodge, Park Lane, Newmarket where his father was a racehorse trainer. By now it is likely that Charles had emigrated to Canada, but details have not been found.

His death was reported in the Newmarket Journal of 17th June 1916, giving him as the 2nd (?) son of Harry MARSH, trainer at Park Lodge. The family are somewhat elusive in the census records

Cannot identify him on the migration records. His enlistment is recorded Canadian National Archives, RG150 Accession 1992-93/166 Box 5942-35
He enlisted on 1st January 1915 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, stating his date of birth as 30th October 1888 and giving his next of kin as Miss Jessie Marsh of Newmarket (his sister). He was a clerk, 5ft 6" (167.6 cm) tall and chest 33" to 36" (83.8 cm to 91.4 cm), brown hair, blue eyes, Church of England

He embarked on SS "Megantic" in Montreal on 12th June 1915. He embarked forFranceon 22nd September 1915, transferred to 1st Bn, Canadian Mounted Rifles and joined them on 3rd January 1916.

Canadian records show him as killed in the trenches at Maple Copse (near Zillebeke), no record of burial. At 8 :30 on the morning of June 2, the German artillery came down with a crush on the trenches occupied by the 8th Brigade (Canadian Mounted Rifles) in front of Sanctuary Wood- The bombardment that developed proved to be perhaps the most intense to which troops had been subjected up to that time on the western front. It destroyed not only the trenches occupied by the Mounted Rifles, but the whole area as well. No troops in the world could have withstood it. The result was that when the Wurtemburgers, who composed the attacking division, came over, they met with only a scattered and fragmentary resistance. The companies of the 1st and 4th C. M. R.'s in the front line were almost wiped out of existence. Major-General Mercer, the divisional commander, who was at the time inspecting the front-line trenches, was killed (actually by friendly fire); and Brigadier-General Williams, who was with him, was wounded and taken prisoner. On the left, some of the Princess Patricias were likewise blown out of their trenches; and for a time the outlook seemed very black.
At the height of the action on June 2nd, the Copse became a ravaged front line, as remnants of the 4th & 1st CMRs fell back. Regrouping with the 5th CMR, together they stemmed the tide of attacking WŁttemberg troops and stalled the advance. Over the following 13 days, Canadian and British forces pushed the German troops back to more or less their start point of June 2nd.
On this day the 1st CMR had 74 killed, and 65 have no known grave and are named on the Menin Gate, and they had it 'easier' than the 4th CMR. Such was the intensity of the German shelling very few bodies were identified

His medals were sent to his brother Owen c/o WardenInsurance Co, 9 Gold St., Northampton. The scroll and memorial plaque was sent to his father, racehorse trainer Harry Marsh at Markhoff, Markegg, Austria.

© Commonwealth War Graves Commission

No Known Grave - Charles is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium...Ref: Panel 5
and also commemorated on the plaque in the New Astley Club, Fred Archer Way, Newmarket

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details