Claude Robert Marsh
From Our Contribution
Birtwistle Local Studies Library PH055
Claude (front) and Hartland Richards as POWs in Poland - Courtesy Alison Wholagan
|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|
5' 9½" (1.77m) tall ; 135 lbs|
61.235 kg; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Armadale, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr Robert George Marsh|
|Date of Enlistment||13 Apr 1916|
|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|
Missing in Action, later Prisoner of War 11 Apr 1917 |
Returned to Australia
Armadale War Memorial (West Armadale panel) |
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
British War Medal |
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 Poziéres. 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. .
Repatriated to England via Danzig on 18 Dec 1918.
Discharged by the 5th Military District on 7 Aug 1919. See separate publication "A Guest of the Kaiser" for the story of his time as a POW. Copies held int he Brtwistle 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.
Casualty List 334 corrects this to advise he was a prisoner of 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.
During WW2 he served from 30 Nov 1940 until 2 Jan 1942 in the Militia (5th Garrison Battalion) as a lance Corporal with Regimental No W31832.
- "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - Claude Robert Marsh". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,720). Western Australia. 19 May 1917. p. 7. Retrieved 20 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,810). Western Australia. 1 September 1917. p. 7. Retrieved 20 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia.