- Surnames starting with the letter M. 

John William Marsden

Rank:2nd LieutNumber:5103
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:05th Bn [2]
Name of Rgt or Ship:Lancashire Fusiliers
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:France
Cemetery or Memorial:Thiepval Memorial, Somme
Town Memorial:Not Listed
Extra Information:
Born at 237 Radnor Street, Hulme, Manchester on the 30th April 1889.    The
elder son of John James & Ann Marsden (nee Beasant) - his father's
occupation was given as Mechanic (Fitter).      John James is variously
listed at 237 Radnor Street in the 1895 PO directory and at 54 Darncombe
Street in the 1901 Slater Directory.   In the 1901 census he is described
as an engineer and tool fitter, Born Macclesfield.

1891 Census - 237 Radnor Street, Hulme, Manchester.   Son - aged: 1 - born:
Not stated.    Head of household - John J. Marsden - Married - aged: 39 -
occ: Fitter Steam Engines - born: Macclesfield.   Also Ann Marsden - Wife -
aged: 37 - born: Hungerford, Berkshire.   Plus 1 younger brother and his
paterenal grandmother.

1901 Census - 54 Darncombe, Moss Side, Manchester.   Son - aged: 11 - born:
Mnachester.    Head of household - John James Marsden - Married - aged: 49
- occ: Engines & Tool Fitter - born: Macclesfield.   Also Ann Marsden -
Wife - aged: 46 - born: Hungerford, Berkshire.   Plus 1 younger brother.

1911 Census - 184 Great Western Street, Moss Side, Manchester.   Son -
aged: 21 - occ: Elementary Teacher with Manchester Education Board - born:
Manchester.   Head of household - John James Marsden - Married - aged: 59 -
occ: Engineer Fitter - born: Macclesfield.   Also Ann Marsden - Wife -
aged: 56 - born: Hungerford, Berkshire.   Plus 1 younger brother.

Married Alice Dewhurst on the 1st April 1916 at St. James' P.C. Rusholme,
Manchester.  The marriage being registered during the June quarter 1916 in
the Chorlton R.D. - ref: 8c/1265.

A F.R.H.S. and Organist & Choirmaster at St. Clement's Church, Greenheys,
Manchester, being appointed there from St. Cyprian's Church, Salford.     A
prominent member of the Municipal Officers Guild Tennis Club - having held
their championship cup twice.

Employed as a Teacher at the Upper Jackson St School.

Originally enlisted in the Queen's Westminster Rifles.     He was
commissioned in August 1917 and returned to the front in September 1917.

WO 374 states:- He enlisted in the 16th Bn Queens Westminster Rifles, at
the Queens Hall, London, on the 6th December 1915 and was then residing at
184 Great Western Street, Moss Side, Manchester.   His medical held at 58
Buckingham Gate, London S.W. recorded that he was aged 26 years, 8 months -
he was 5 feet 7 inches in height, his chest measurements were 36/4½ inches
and was considered of good physical development.   Between the 2nd November
and the 9th December 1916 he spent 37 days in hospital suffering from a
septic toe ?   He married Alice Dewhurst at St. James' Church, Rusholme,
Manchester on the 1st April 1916.   He was stationed at "Home" (UK) 6th
December 1915 to 21st June 1916 - 199 days.

He went to France on the 22nd June 1916 and served there until the 1st
November 1916 - 133 days.   He was on "Home" service again from 2nd
November 1916 to 30th July 1917 - 271 days, when he commissioned.  Another
document states that he served in France with the 2nd Bn London Rgt from
the 23rd June to the 27th October 1916, when he returned as sick, to the UK
and was posted to a Reserve Bn on the 20th December 1916.   He was accepted
for admission to the No. 12 Officer Cadet Battalion at Newmarket on the 7th
April 1917.   He was commissioned into the 5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers on
the 31st July 1917.   When he made his will on the 28th June 1916 he was a
Rifleman No. 5103 serving with the 2/16th Queen's Westminster Rifles and he
listed his wife's address as - Church Street, Kirby in Ashfield,
Nottinghamshire.  On the 3rd November 1916 she changed her address to:- 184
Great Western Street, Moss Side, Manchester (the home of his parents).   
By December 1917 - January 1918, she was residing at  "Tanfield", Sherwood
Avenue, Sale.  By April 1918, she is recorded as residing at 22 Catterick
Road, Didsbury, Manchester, but in her reply to the War Office's request as
to where to send his memorial plaque and scroll, she states that her
permanent address is now 46 Grange Road, Chorlton cum Hardy.   In settling
up his estate, the War Office deducted the equivalent of 52.85 French
Franks that was owing on his mess bill in France.  His estate, valued at
£146. 13.  0d was granted to his widow.

Letter dated 24th November 1917, from T.C. De la Hey, the Church of England
Chaplain to the 5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers:- " My dear Mrs. Marsden,  I
fear you must be prepared for sad news.  Your husband - 2nd Lt Marsden of
'A' Company, took part in the action on the 20th November when our
battalion was called upon to capture certain German trenches.  Your husband
led his platoon off over the parapet towards the German positions at 06.44
hrs and safely crossed 'no mans land', though the machine gun barrage was
severe.  His men tell me that he was wonderfully cool and courageous and
quite calm - telling them where to go and keeping them in position.  He had
just reached the front trench after covering 'no mans land' - about 700
yards and as he stepped into the trench, was hit by a bullet that passed
through his head.  He fell forward into the trench and passed away at once.
 His men meanwhile carried on, but after two hours were forced to retire
from the position and your husband's body was left.  I do not doubt but
that the Germans will give his body reverent burial, as we do for them.  I
had this account of what happened from Private Southern - 203772 - 'A'
Company, who was close by him and saw what happened.  Southern stayed
beside him until he was compelled to leave him and carry on.  I am
dreadfully sorry for you in this very terrible loss.  I knew your husband
very well and we often talked of his work as an organist and he had only a
few days before been showing me the Parish Magazine.  You have my sincere
sympathy.  He was so much liked by his men and I think they all loved his
gentle way.   He was always so quiet and kind and gentle and it seems wrong
that he should have to take part in such a terrible thing as war".

In France the 2/5th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers were part of the 164th Brigade,
55th Division.  The Battle of Cambrai commenced on the 20th November 1917,
but that was to the east of the Somme and Lt Marsden is commemorated on the
Thiepval Memorial on the Somme.  A check of SDGW reveals that 51 men of the
2/5th Bn LF died that day and nearly all of them are commemorated on the
Thiepval Memorial, a couple are buried at Tincourt & Villers-Faucon
cemeteries, which are situated to the south of the Cambrai Battlefield.

Dearth reported in the 11/12/1917 edition of the Altrincham Guardian.

In 1921, his widow, Alice Marsden, married a Sidney J. Davis and moved to
"Craiginore", St. George's Ave, Northampton.

See article in  Manchester Evening News dated: 9th December 2017.

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