MARSHMAN, Samuel William

No.614304, Private Samuel William MARSHMAN
Aged 23

1st Battalion, Canterbury Regiment (New Zealand Expeditionary Force)
Killed in Action on Sunday, 17th June 1917

William Samuel Marshman was born in West Wittering, Sussex (Westhampnett Q4-1894 2B:372), baptised West Wittering 24th February 1895, son of Samuel George and Emily "Alice" MARSHMAN (née PRIOR).

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at 5 Coastguard Station, Littlestone on Sea with his father Samuel George MARSHMAN [35] coastguard, born Portsmouth; his mother Emily (often referred to as Alice) [36] born Portsmouth, and sister Alice Ellen [3] born East Wittering.

1911 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was at Lode Moor, Lode, with his parents, sisters Isabel [9] born Littlestone on Sea, and twins Eva and Grace [6] , born Bottisham.

Quite possibly he is the Samuel Marshman, giving his age as 18, born 1893, farm labourer, who sailed on SS "Australind" from London to Freemantle, Australia on 22nd September 1911.

From his New Zealand Army records we find he married Clara Louise FERRIS on 1st March 1916 at Holy Trinity, Lyttleton, New Zealand and they had one daughter, Harriett Alice, born January 1917 who never saw her father. Harriett was last heard of at 7 Wynard Road, Mt Eden, Auckland in 1944.. In 1950 a UK solicitor was trying to trace her or her mother. The New Zealand authorities said the £84 p.a. pension had been stopped, either due to the death of Clara or a re-marriage, and that was all they knew.

He enlisted in Rangiora. At his medical on 30th November 1915 he was 5ft 6.25 inches tall, weighed 147 lbs, chest 33.5" to 37", blue eyed, brown hair and Church of England. Attested on 16th December 1915 he said he had been working for Mr Peach at Ashley before going to New Zealand. His family address in UK was Lode Moor, Cambridgeshire.

After training he sailed from New Zealand on 2nd April 1916, arriving Tel el Kebir (Suez) on 4th May. Then proceeded to Marseilles aboard the Ivernia, from Alexandria on 20th May 1915
On 28th May he was attached to NZ I&GDD (Infantry & General Details Depot) at Etaples and then to 24 General Hospital Etaples on 30th May. By 1st July 1916 he was back with I &GDD at Etaples before joining the 1st Battalion at Armentieres on 18th July 1916.
He was very soon wounded, a gunshot wound to his left foot, on 25th July and proceeded via 8 CCS to 32 Stationary Hospital at Wimereux where he was admitted on 26th. Recovering, he was attached to 1 Convalescent Unit at Boulogne on 7th August before returning to I & GDD at Etaples on 3rd September.
Returned to his unit in the field on 22nd September he was attached to New Zealand Tunnelling Company on 16th October, re-joining his battalion on 3rd December 1916. On 20th January 1917 he was sent to Depot HQ to re-fuse ammunition, before be attached to the Canadian Engineers on 4th May 1917 .He was then returned to 1 Company New Zealand Engineers on 5th June and was killed in action on 17th June 1917. He was buried at Prowse Point, just north of Ploegsteert Wood.
His wife, at 5 Dampier Bay Road, Lyttleton was awarded a pension of £84 per annum for her and their daughter.

He was the only man of his battalion to die that day. From a total population of just over 1 million in 1914, New Zealand had 120,000 enlisted of which 103,000 served overseas, 18,500 dying and 41,000 injured, the highest percentages of any nation involved in the war. Up till then they were always in the shadow of Australia, but as Ormond Burton, a highly decorated Kiwi soldier later said " "somewhere between the landing at Anzac and the end of the battle of the Somme, New Zealand very definitely became a nation".

photo: Rodney Gibson

Samuel Marshman is buried in Prowse Point Military Cemetery, Belgium, grave 1:A:6

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