Claude Robert Marsh

From Our Contribution

Claude Robert Marsh
Marsh Claude Robert.jpg
Birtwistle Local Studies Library PH055
Marsh Claude & Hartland Richards Poland.jpg
Claude (front) and Hartland Richards as POWs in Poland - Courtesy Alison Wholagan
Personal Information
Date of Birth 03 August 1897
Place of Birth Kelmscott, Western Australia
Death 23 Oct 1976, aged 79
Place of Death Armadale, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 18 years, 7 months
Description 5' 9½" (1.77m) tall ; 135 lbs
61.235 kg
; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Farm hand
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Robert George Marsh
Military Information
Reg Number 6553 & W31832
Date of Enlistment 13 Apr 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 16th Battalion, 21st Reinforcement assigned to B Company / 4th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 13 Oct 1916 ‒ 12 Dec 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A23 Suffolk Fremantle to Plymouth
Date of Return 31 Mar 1919 ‒ 24 May 1919
Ship Returned On SS Khyber
Fate Missing in Action, later Prisoner of War 11 Apr 1917
Returned to Australia
Remained in Australia ww2
Monument Armadale War Memorial (West Armadale panel)
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Claude Robert Marsh
Plaque Information
Date of Birth 03 August 1897
Age at Death 79 years
Transcription In Loving Memory of Claude Robert Marsh Born 1897 Died 23/10/1976 Aged 79 Years

Pre War

War Service

Claude entered Blackboy Hill on 13 Apr 1916 and spent the first few weeks as a member of the 62nd Depot Company before being allocated to the 21st reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion on 1 May 1916. After six months training in Australia he embarked for England, and on arrival there was sent to the 4th Training Battalion in the Rollestone district.

On 8 Feb 1917 he proceeded overseas to France from Folkestone on the HMT Princess Victoria. Five days later he joined the 16th Battalion in Albury Camp near Bazentin, south east of Pozières. March 1917 was spent regrouping and training before a move back to the front lines occurred in early April with the intention of attacking the Hindenburg Line. Following several changes of plans, and failure of the tanks to arrive in time for an attack on 10 April, the attack on the OG1 and OG2 trenches between Bullecourt and Reincourt took place early on 11 Apr 1917. Despite a complete lack of artillery and tank support the Australians captured parts of their objectives, but were eventually forced back, taking very heavy losses. Over 1,000 were captured when they ran out of ammunition or were surrounded by the Germans, who in the absence of artillery, had moved up reinforcements.

Claude was one of those captured near Reincourt after his Company Commander was killed. The early days of captivity were bleak with the prisoners kept close to the front lines restoring roads and carrying out other works behind the German front line.

Interned at Limburg, Germany, he was later transferred to Friedrichsfeld and then Schneidemuhl in Prussia where he worked first on forestry work and then as a farmhand on a farm owned by a German Sergeant of Polish ethnicity. [1].

Claude was repatriated to England via Danzig on 18 Dec 1918 and departed for Australia board SS Khyber on 31 Mar 1919. He was discharged by the 5th Military District on 7 Aug 1919. See separate publication "A Guest of the Kaiser by Linton Reynolds" for the story of his time as a POW. Copies held in the Birtwistle Library at the City of Armadale and at the Western Australian Army Museum in Fremantle.

Casualty List 299 includes C.R. Marsh of Armadale as Missing.[2]

Casualty List 334 corrects this to advise he was a prisoner of war.[3]

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 Rowley road, Armadale, a labourer; 1943 an Agent, living in Fourth road, Armadale (no 21) where he remained until his death. Claude was secretary of the Kelmscott Agricultural Society for seven years, from 1928-1934.

World War 2

During WW2 he served from 30 Nov 1940 until 2 Jan 1942 in the Militia with 'Y' Company of the 5th Australian Garrison Battalion in Swanbourne as a lance Corporal (appointed 27 May 1941) with Regimental No W31832. He was 43 years and 3 months old at time of enlistment, giving his occupation as a Commission Agent, living in Fourth road, Armadale. In January and February 1941 he completed a 41 day full time course at the Melville camp He was called up for full time duty on 15 Dec 1941, but discharged on 2 Jan 1942 to return to civilian Essential Services.


  1. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - Claude Robert Marsh". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  2. "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,720). Western Australia. 19 May 1917. p. 7. Retrieved 20 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,810). Western Australia. 1 September 1917. p. 7. Retrieved 20 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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