MARSH, Walter

No.26667, Private, Walter MARSH
Aged 32

2nd/4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
formerly 24984, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 6th November 1918

Walter Marsh was born in Kedington (Risbridge Q3-1886 4A:616) son of George and Susan Mary MARSH (née ASHARD).

1891 census...Aged 4, he was at Dash End, Kedington with his father George MARSH [29] farm labourer; his mother Susan [28], born Bordbrook, Essex; brothers Frank [6] and Alfred [2]; sister Kate [1 month]. All except his mother were born in Kedington.

His father apparently died in 1898 and his mother in 1899.

1901 census... Aged 14, a farm labourer, he was at Fern Villas, Kedington with his uncle Henry MARSH [32] stockman; his aunt Annie [26] and cousin Clarence [1], all born in Kedington.

1911 census...Aged 24, general labourer, he was at Dane Common, Kedington with his brother Frank (horse man on farm), wife Ruby [26] born West Wratting and their son Bertie [5] born Kedington. Also there was Walter's other brother, Alfred [18] a domestic gardener.

The pension card has Frank as his faher, not brother, which is incorrect.

He enlisted in Haverhill. The family have letters from him, one from England in late November 1917, which may indicate that he had been wounded.
The war diary says:-

At 8.30 am orders were received to move to OBIES where the 155th Infantry Brigade was holding the line and in conjunction with the 2/4th Duke of Wellington's Regt capture the BROWN LINE (BAVAT-AVESNES Road) and if possible exploit to DELHAYE WOOD. On OBIES being reached the situation was found to be obscure and the Battalion was halted while reconnaissance was being made. This reconnaissance was carried out by Major B.E.T.Parsons.
The disposition on forming up was as follows"C" and "A" Coys on the road between O.7.c.6.4. and O.7.a.7.4.; "D" and "B" Coys along the road running North and South through the E in MECQUIGNIES. No barrage was available, but the battalion had the use of two sections of artillery for forward work and two batteries for targets of opportunity. In addition to this, two sections of machine guns were available. The artillery was used at the start for putting shrapnel fire over the villages of MECQUIGNIES, GOGNIAUX and LES TIMON.
At 11:30 am the attack was launched; very little opposition being encountered although the whole area being encountered although the whole area was subjected to heavy shellfire.On approaching the villages, considerable difficulty arose on the left flank from machine guns in O.1.b; these guns firing into the backs of "D" and "B" Coys. It was found that the Guards who were operating on our left were over 1,000 yards behind but the attack pushed forward. Some opposition was set in GOGNIAUX but after sharp fighting in the Orchards the machine guns were captured; some enemy killed and 4 prisoners were taken.
The villages were the objectives for "C" and "D" Coys and "A" and "B" Coys attempted to come through, but again heavy enfilade machine gun fire from the left made the advance most difficult.
In the meantime 2/Lieut H.L.Willsher pushing ahead forced the BROWN LINE at QUENE-AU-LOUP and drove the enemy toward BOIS-DU-CHENE inflicting severe casualties. Although isolated and exposed to enfilade fire this party held on to its position and so enabled "A" and "B" Coys to work forward on the right flank and these two Coys eventually succeeded in occupying the road from QUENE-AU-LOUP (Quene-au-Loup is now Le Quesne-aux-Leux)to the CROSS ROADs O.9.a.6.9. driving the enemy towards CONQUEVILLE. As the Guards were some distance behind on the left, "D" Coy pushed forward - one platoon to O.9.a.0.9. to protect the left flank.
Battalion HQ was at OBIES being subsequently moved to GOGNIAUX. The night passed quietly and at dawn the attack was continued by the 5th Duke of Wellingtons Regt and 2 battalions of the 185th Infantry Brigade.

CWGC records have 9 of the battalion dying on the 6th November

Walter Marsh is buried in Obies Communal Cemetery, grave south corner

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

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