Topic: GW - We forgot
Great War Issues
Lest We Forget - But We Did Anyway
Andrew James Marshall
The death of Andrew James Marshall
[Adelaide Observer, 3 October 1914, p. 43.]
ANDREW JAMES MARSHALL – A FORGOTTEN SOLDIER
Researched and written by: Brian Fallon from Geelong, Victoria; and, Chris Ward, who lives in Adelaide, South Australia.
The death and burial of James Marshall was reported in Adelaide and Broken Hill newspapers in September 1914 and even though it was reported that he was a member of the A.I.F. his name is not commemorated as a war dead. Early research failed to find evidence of A.I.F. service, however, the chance discovery of incorrectly filed Service Papers for 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall of ‘E’ Company, 12th Battalion provided the vital breakthrough to prove that the deceased was a serving member with the A.I.F. when he died.
From the Adelaide Observer, 3 October 1914, p. 43.
The First Death
It was reported at camp headquarters on Sunday that Pte James Marshall, of E Company, 12th Infantry Regiment, who had been sent to the Adelaide Hospital suffering from pneumonia, had died on Saturday. Pte Marshall was a single man, aged 28 years, and came from Broken Hill. He was a member of the unit raised in South Australia to complete the Tasmanian quota of the 12th Infantry Regiment, but was indisposed at the time of the departure of his comrades for Tasmania.
The Register, Adelaide and The Barrier Miner, Broken Hill newspapers reported the death of James Marshall on the 28th September 1914 followed the next day by a report of his funeral. Collectively they reported that Marshall was from ‘E’ Company, 12th Battalion, was single, aged 28, was from Broken Hill and among the mourners was a brother, Charles, from Kapunda, South Australia. He was given a military funeral, the firing party and pallbearers drawn from ‘H’ Company, 10th Battalion.
ADELAIDE HOSPITAL ADMISSION RECORDS
Adelaide Hospital Admission Records show that John Marshall from Morphetville, probably Morphetville Camp, was admitted on the 17th September 1914 suffering from pneumonia and that he died on the 26th September 1914, the same date that James Marshall died. There is no doubt that John and James were the same person.
The death certificate for James Marshall records that he was a Miner from Broken Hill, was aged 28, single and was born in Naracoorte, South Australia. The informant, undertaker R. G. Trevelion, would not have known the deceased and the details were probably provided either by Charles Reuben Marshall, brother of the deceased who attended the funeral, and/or the army.
595 PTE JOHN THOMAS MARSHALL, ‘E’ COMPANY, 12th BATTALION
The enlistment papers, four pages, for 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall, ‘E’ Company, 12th Battalion who enlisted on 5 September 1914 were found by chance incorrectly filed in the service dossier for 559 Pte James Thomas Marshall, 32nd Battalion. The latter is not related in any way to the James Marshall being investigated. The papers, including a ‘Certified Copy of the Attestation Paper,’ reveal that 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall, age 29 years and 9 months, 5 feet, 5 ½ inches tall, was born in Naracoorte, South Australia. In answer to Question 11 he stated that he had been a member of the 8th A.I.R., Bendigo and named his sister, Mrs. H. Ramsey of Mardan South, Gippsland, Victoria, next of kin. Harriet Jewel Marshall married William James Ramsey in Victoria in 1904. With positive identification of three siblings, Charles, Harriet Jewel and John Thomas, it was established that they were born in Naracoorte, South Australia to Robert and Catherine (nee Harris) Marshall. It is significant that a son, James, is not included, however there is an Andrew James.
With the connection between John Thomas, Charles and Harriet established it is clear that 595, John Thomas Marshall was the John Marshall admitted to the Adelaide Hospital on 17 September 1914 and therefore the James Marshall who died in Adelaide Hospital on 26 September 1914.
1470 PTE JOHN THOMAS MARSHALL, 10th BATTALION
John Thomas Marshall enlisted on 18 December 1914 as 1470, 10th Battalion. His enlistment papers show that he was born in Naracoorte, was aged 27 years and 7 months and his brother, Charles of Kapunda, South Australia, was named next of kin. In answer to Question 11 he stated that he had no previous military service. This soldier was four inches taller than 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall.
THE REAL JOHN THOMAS MARSHALL
Only one of the two volunteers who enlisted under the name of John Thomas Marshall could be the one so named born on 12 May 1887. 1470 Pte John Thomas Marshall survived the war and married in London in before returning home. His actual age when he enlisted on 18 December 1914 is within six days of his stated age of 27 years and 7 months clearly identifying him as the real John Thomas Marshall, son of Robert and Catherine Marshall.
THE MARSHALL FAMILY
Of the eight sons born to Robert and Catherine Marshall three have not been accounted for. Three died in infancy: Alexander Mark in 1884 and Thomas and Thomas Harris both in 1883. Charles Reuben, John Thomas and Richard Harris served in WW1 and returned home. Two of the names unaccounted for; Robert and William Beard have not been traced but because of their age are not likely to have been the person who enlisted as 595, John Thomas Marshall. This leaves Andrew James whose age at 5 September 1914 agrees very closely with the age recorded on the Attestation Paper for 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall.
ANDREW JAMES MARSHALL
Andrew James Marshall was born at Naracoorte, South Australia on 19 November 1884 and it is believed that he was known as James. He married Bertha Elsie Adeline Thompson at Bendigo, Victoria on 9 June 1909, where their two children were born: Elsie Jean 1910 and Edith Kath 1911. For both births, the father’s correct name, Andrew James Marshall, was recorded. As mentioned above the person who enlisted as 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall stated that he had served in the 8th Australian Infantry Regiment, Bendigo, interesting considering that Andrew James Marshall was living in Bendigo from at least 1909 to possibly 1913. The family then moved to Cobar, New South Wales where a third child, Amy, was born in 1913. Sometime later it is believed that Andrew James Marshall moved to Broken Hill, possibly without his family, where he identified himself as James.
Comparison of Andrew James Marshall’s signature on his marriage certificate to that on the Attestation Paper for 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall would have confirmed if these two people were or were not the same person. Unfortunately the Attestation Paper being a certified copy does not have the original signature thereby precluding a comparison. The original document cannot be found.
1909 – Bendigo, Victoria. Shows a James Marshall, occupation Miner, residing at 302 Woodward Road, Golden Square. With Andrew James Marshall having married in Bendigo in 1909 it is strongly believed that this James Marshall was Andrew James Marshall.
1913 – Cobar, New South Wales. Shows Andrew James Marshall, occupation Miner. His wife, Bertha Elsie Adeline Marshall, is on the same electoral roll.
1915 – Broken Hill, New South Wales. Shows James Marshall, occupation Miner, living in Crystal Street. Being registered on the 1915 electoral roll does not necessarily mean that James Marshall was living there in 1915. By comparison, 477 Pte Frank Batt, 10th Battalion who enlisted on 24 August 1914, is on the same electoral roll even though he left Adelaide on 20 October 1914 and was killed in action on 25 April 1915. Both men probably registered on the Broken Hill electoral roll in 1913 or 1914.
The electoral rolls in themselves do not prove that James Marshall and Andrew James Marshall were the same person. However, it seems to be too much of a coincidence that a James Marshall happened to be in Bendigo in 1909, where Andrew James married that year, and then in 1913 Andrew James Marshall was living in Cobar with his wife. It is known that the deceased was from Broken Hill when he enlisted and it is reasonable to accept that he was known there as James, the name on the Broken Hill and Bendigo electoral rolls.
The 12th Battalion was a composite unit comprising: four companies, ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ formed in Tasmania, ‘E’ and ‘F’ Companies formed in South Australia and ‘G’ and ‘H’ Companies formed in Western Australia. On 16 September 1914 ‘E’ and ‘F’ Companies left Adelaide for Melbourne where they embarked on 17 September 1914 aboard HMAT A2 "Geelong" for Tasmania leaving 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall, believed to be Andrew James Marshall, in the camp hospital administratively isolated from his unit. He died at Adelaide Hospital on 26 September 1914 and, with the 12th Battalion having departed, men from ‘H’ Company, 10th Battalion formed the firing party and served as pallbearers, probably because ninety-five of the men in that Company were from Broken Hill many of whom would have known the deceased.
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA GAZETTE
The War Pensions Act 1914 required that the death of serving members of the armed forces be promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette with Gazette Number 36 dated 8th May 1915 the only one that records the names of members of the A.I.F. who died prior to embarkation. Neither John Thomas Marshall nor James Marshall are not listed, the first entry being 527 Pte John William Poole, 10th Battalion who died two days after Marshall in Adelaide Hospital, as detailed in the article extracted from the Observer posted above. Had the South Australian contingent of the 12th Battalion been in Adelaide at the time of Marshall’s death it’s possible that the correct procedures would have been followed and his name subsequently listed in Gazette Number 36.
James Marshall’s unkempt and unmarked grave, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, Number 43, Road 1 South, Path 7 West, photograph taken in 2005.
PROBABLE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
It will never be known exactly what took place after 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall, ‘E’ Company, 12th Battalion enlisted at Morphetville Camp on 5 September 1914, however, it is possible to draw certain conclusions based on the evidence available. Some time after enlisting he was admitted to the Morphetville Camp Hospital but with his health deteriorating he was admitted to the Adelaide Hospital on 17 September 1914 as John Marshall, dangerously ill from pneumonia. It is likely that the 12th Battalion notified his next of kin, his sister Mrs. H. Ramsey of Mardan South, Gippsland, Victoria, of his condition while he was in the camp hospital. She in turn notified a brother, Charles Reuben, living in Kapunda, South Australia who visited the hospital expecting to find his brother, John Thomas, only to identify the patient as his brother James. It is not known if Charles saw his brother at the camp hospital or at the Adelaide Hospital or even before he died. Hospital staff would have notified the army of Marshall’s death, possibly Headquarters, Keswick Barracks, 4th Military District, or the Australian Army Medical Corps and the 10th Battalion was directed to provide men for the firing party and pallbearers. Once that commitment was completed the 10th Battalion would have had no requirement to follow up with administrative procedures. Failure to follow the correct procedures resulted in Marshall’s name not being promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette that resulted in his name being overlooked as a war dead.
1. The James Marshall who died in Adelaide Hospital on 26 September 1914 was, at the time of his death, serving as 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall of ‘E’ Company, 12th Battalion having enlisted on 5 September 1914.
2. For the following reasons it is believed that it was Andrew James Marshall, known as James, who enlisted as 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall on 5 September 1914:
(i) His whereabouts or fate after 1913 cannot be confirmed although it is believed that he was the James Marshall recorded on the 1915 Broken Hill Electoral Roll.
(ii) His age on 5 September 1914 agrees within sixteen days of the age recorded on the Attestation Paper for 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall.
(iii) The Attestation Paper for 595 Pte John Thomas Marshall records that the volunteer admitted to having served in the 8th Australian Infantry Regiment, Bendigo and it is known that Andrew James Marshall was living in Bendigo at least between 1909 and 1913.
1. The name of Andrew James Marshall to be commemorated as a war dead or something similar.
Lest We Forget - But We Did Anyway
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: Great War Issues, Lest We Forget - But We Did Anyway, Andrew James Marshall