Aubrey MARSH

MARSH, Aubrey

Service Number: 1984
Enlisted: 28 January 1915
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, November 1891
Home Town: Kyogle, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Wounds, 5th Army Operating Centre in Pozieres, France, 7 April 1917
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Plot II, Row D, Grave No. 8
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Eden Creek District WW1 Honour Roll, Ettrick WWI Honor Roll, Grevillia World Wars 1 and 2 Honour Board, Kyogle Great War Honor Roll, Kyogle Grevillia Munro & Lever Sawmill WW1 Honour Board, Kyogle Shire Council Honour Roll WW1, Woodenbong and District Roll of Honor WW1
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World War 1 Service

28 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1984, 15th Infantry Battalion
16 Apr 1915: Involvement Private, 1984, 15th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '11' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Kyarra embarkation_ship_number: A55 public_note: ''
16 Apr 1915: Embarked Private, 1984, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Kyarra, Brisbane
8 Aug 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 1984, 15th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, GSW to jaw during attack on Hill 951
10 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 1984, 15th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , GSW to left thumb
24 Mar 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 15th Infantry Battalion
7 Apr 1917: Involvement Lance Corporal, 1984, 15th Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 1984 awm_unit: 15th Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Lance Corporal awm_died_date: 1917-04-07

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

LCpl 1984 Aubrey Marsh
15th Australian Infantry Battalion,
4th Brigade, 4th Australian Division 

In the poppy fields echoes of the past can be heard, the sound of bagpipes and the footsteps of a whole generation of men who fought and fell in the Somme under deluges of bullets and the thunder of shells which have since fallen silent but more than a hundred years after the end of the great war, thousands of young boys still stand behind the shadows of their white graves and reach out their hands to us so that we can honor their memory and pass on their stories so that they may be remembered with the respect and love they all deserve for all they did and went through for us so for them, i would give my today, my tomorrow and my life so that they will never be forgotten, to put names and faces on these heroes so they live forever.

Today, it is with infinite gratitude and with utmost respect that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who gave his today for our tomorrow.I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Lance Corporal number 1984 Aubrey Marsh who fought in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion, 4th Brigade, 4th Australian Division and who died of his wounds 105 years ago, on April 7, 1917 at the age of 25 on the Somme front.

Aubrey Marsh was born in 1891 in Armidale, New South Wales, and was the son of Herbert Greenup Marsh (1859-1941), and Maria Marsh (née Baker, 1857-1941), of Kyogle, New South Wales. Aubrey had three brothers, James (1881-1947), Edward (1882-1896), Norman (1889-1976) and six sisters, Mary (1883-1967), Janetta (1885-1949), Elsie (1887-1971), Lucy (1894 -1980),Mabel (1896-1970) and Dorothy (born in 1902).Before the outbreak of the war,Aubrey worked as a labourer.

Aubrey enlisted on January 28, 1915 in Brisbane, Queensland, as Private in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion, 5th Reinforcement, battalion which was nicknamed "The Oxley Regiment" and whose motto was "Caveant Hostes" (Beware Of Enemies), first under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Cannan then Lieutenant Colonel Terence Mcsharry. After a period of just over two months of training at Broadmeadows Camp, Victoria, Aubrey embarked with his unit from Brisbane, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on the 16th April 1915 and sailed for the Gallipoli Peninsula.

On July 13, 1915, Aubrey was disembarked with the 15th Battalion at Gallipoli and a little over two weeks later, on January 27, he fell ill and was admitted to the 4th Field Ambulance suffering from diarrhea and then rejoined his unit on July 30.From July to August, the battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead.

In August the Battalion was part of the force that was to attempt to seize the heights of Sari Bar specifically Hill 971 in the August Offensive. Meanwhile the 1st Division was trying to block Turkish reinforcements on the southern approaches at Lone Pine.

Things did not go well for the Brigade in the rough and broken ground north of the Sari Bair range, at night and with no reliable communications or navigation aids, their advance faltered and then elements of the Brigade were caught in the open on exposed approaches by Turkish machine gun posts. Hill 971 was taken but was relinquished in the face of the arrival of Turkish reinforcements. The 15th Battalion played no further part in what became a forlorn hope.
It was during the attack on Hill 971 that on August 8, 1915, Aubrey was injured by a gun shot wound in the jaw and was evacuated to the 29th Field Ambulance suffering from a fractured jaw and on August 10, was evacuated to Lemnos, Greece, where he was admitted to the 3rd Australian General Hospital then to Lowlands Station on August 21, then after recovering was transferred to the Base Depot in Lemnos and was sent back with the 15th Battalion to Gallipoli on September 15 to hold a position known as "Hay Valley" but ten days later, on September 25, Aubrey fell ill again and was admitted to the 4th Field Ambulance then to the 3rd Australian General Hospital and evacuated the same day to Mudros, Greece, to the 2nd Stationary Hospital in suffering from neuralgia.

On October 19, 1915, Aubrey joined his battalion in Mudros and embarked on board "Tunisian" then sailed for Egypt and was disembarked in Alexandria on January 3, 1916 then with his unit, was sent to Ismailia and fought for the defense of the Canal of Suez and five months later, on June 1, with his unit, joined the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in Alexandria then embarked on board "Transylvania" and proceeded overseas for France.

On June 8, 1916, after a short trip on the Mediterranean Sea, Aubrey arrived in France and was disembarked at Marseilles. Two days later, on June 10, he and the 15th Battalion marched to Bailleul and then into Steenwerck on June 17 in the sector of the "Jesus Farm" and a little more than ten days later, on June 30, moved to the reserve line at Bois-Grenier for "experience in local conditions of warfare" until July 12.

On July 12, 1916 at midnight, Aubrey and the 15th Battalion were relieved from Bois-Grenier by the 31st Australian Infantry Battalion and marched into billets at La Blanche Maison near Bailleul and the next day joined the Bailleul Railway Station then proceeded for the Somme and arrived at Candas then marched for St Ouen which they left on July 16 for Naours where they remained until July 24 and where the men followed an intensive training. The following day, the battalion left Naours and marched for Herrissart then for Warloy-Baillon on July 27 where they completed their training in order to join the front line and the battlefields of the Somme.

On August 5, 1916, the dreaded hour had arrived for Aubrey and the 15th Battalion who joined the trenches and the hell of the Battle of Pozieres and relieved the 2nd Australian Division which was completely exhausted and almost annihilated.During the relief, the battalion suffered heavy shelling, which, after it had moved into trenches in front of the village along the sunken road to Courcellette,was followed by a brief German attack that was repulsed and resulted in the battalion capturing 20 Germans. In the days that followed, the battalion worked to improve their defensive line, digging saps towards the German trenches while patrols were sent out into no man's land. Late on August 8, the 15th battalion put in an attack alongside a British battalion from the Suffolk Regiment, on their left. Amidst heavy shelling and machine-gun crossfire, the attack stalled following the loss of almost all of the officers in the assaulting companies,nevertheless, despite progress on their left, they succeeded in capturing part of the German line, but were ordered to withdraw the following day.On the night of August 9, a second attack was put in, in concert with the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion, which succeeded in securing part of the German line, despite heavy shelling. At noon the following day, the 15th Battalion was relieved as the 4th Brigade was withdrawn from the line and replaced by the 13th. Casualties during the battalion's first battle on the Western Front were high: 90 killed and 370 wounded.

Unfortunately, during the attack of the 15th Battalion on August 9, Aubrey was wounded for the second time in the left thumb and the lower extremities and was evacuated the next day to the 13th General Hospital of Boulogne then two days later, on August 12, he was admitted on board "HS St Denis" and evacuated to England then admitted the same day to the 5th Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth.

A month later after recovering from his injuries, Aubrey was taken on strength in Command Depot number 1 at Perham Downs on September 25, 1916 and marched to Woolwich on October 13 then proceeded overseas to France on November 11 and was disembarked at Etaples on November 13 where he joined the 4th Australian Divisional Base Depot and joined the 15th Battalion on January 6, 1917 in the Somme, at Bazentin-Le-Grand where the men were employed in working parties until January 8 and the following day, moved to Melbourne Camp near Mametz where they underwent a period of training in snowy weather and extreme cold and then held the front line in this sector until February 2.

On February 3, 1917, Aubrey and his comrades marched to Perth Camp and then to Becourt "B Camp" for a new period of training which ended on February 20 and then left Becourt the next day for Ribemont where they remained until March 23.The following day, Aubrey was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and the 15th Battalion moved to Crucifix Wood then marched through Bazentin-Le-Petit, Grevillers, and arrived at Favreuil, Pas-De-Calais on March 28.

A few days later, on April 3, 1917, the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion marched to Lagnicourt, near Bullecourt and relieved the 52nd Australian Infantry Battalion and entered the trenches with the support of the 49th Australian Infantry Battalion on their left. Unfortunately, four days later, on April 7, 1917, during an attack by the 15th Battalion on the German lines south of Rincourt, Aubrey met his fate and was seriously injured by a gun shot wound and was immediately evacuated to the 5th Army Operating Center in Pozieres in suffering from a perforation of the abdomen but it was too late to save him and he died of his wounds later in the day, he was 25 years old.

Today, Lance Corporal Aubrey Marsh rests in peace alongside his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-La-Boisselle, Somme.

Aubrey, it was in the finest spirit of courage that you answered the call of duty under the colors of Australia to do your bit on the battlefields when you were in the prime of your life but under the war bells you kept your head high and you joined your friends, your comrades to fight in the name of peace and freedom to protect democracy and the highest values ​​which were threatened by the flames and the fury of 'a world at war which in the darkness of the battlefields was plunged into madness and death but without fear, you marched with bravery and determination towards the red sands and beaches of Gallipoli where the spirit of ANZAC was born and who guided thousands of young men to the hot hills of Turkey on which fell thousands of young men who shed their blood side by side and who discovered the brutality, the monstrosity of the war that stole the lives of their friends under shells and bullets on the arid lands of Lone Pine and in the heat, in the pain, in tears and sweat, they charged the enemy lines without retreating but the price was high and they saw the sun set on the lifeless bodies of their brothers who sacrificed their youth in the barbed wire, on sacred grounds on which thousands of them rest in peace.After this hell, these young men who left behind their childhood hoped to return home but the war did not stop and the carnage continued and orders were received for them to join the fields of northern France and marched together to through the poppies under the songs of the birds, in an illusory silence which was soon broken by the horrible symphony of the artillery which transformed fields formerly peaceful into fields of death, in a new hell which bore the name of Pozieres and through which, under the shells and rains of bullets, fell in a few weeks more than 23,000 young Diggers who lived day and night alongside the death that awaited them but in this nightmare, despite the fury around them, despite the weight of the burden they carried on their shoulders and in the mud of the Somme they dragged under their shoes they did not back down, they resisted fiercely in the face of storms of fire and steel, they did not let the enemy broke the line and fought shoulder to shoulder like lions for every meter of French soil without ever giving up. In friendship and brotherhood they watched over each other and shared hopes, doubts, fears and tears but always kept faith and their sense of humor which was their light in this chaos that was their war but fought together for this war to end all wars and once again, for their loved ones, for their children and for us, they found the courage and the strength to follow their brothers in arms behind the whistles of their officers, they climbed the wooden ladders, they went over the top with exceptional bravery under the crossfire of the machine guns and saw their fathers, their best mates who fell one after the other under a gray sky and among the poppies who were the silent witnesses of the courage and the sacrifices of these heroes who did not have the chance to return home and who found in France the eternal peace of their final resting places on which their names are remembered and honored with gratitude.Forever young, they will never be alone and will never be forgotten and it is for me a pride, an honor and a privilege to watch over them, I am proud and honored to give them my today so that they can live forever, so that their memory, like the poppies of the Somme, never fades.Thank you so much Aubrey,for everything. At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.