Henry (Harry) MARSHALL
Rank: Gunner
Number: 179720
Date of Death: 29 December 1918
Age: 29
Cemetery: Menen Communal Cemetery, Belgium

Known to his family as Harry and his army mates as Bob, Henry’s death six weeks after the War ended was a tragic accident.

He was the son of Augustus and Elizabeth Marshall of 7 Chapel Street, Heaton Mersey and was married. He and Frances Wheeldon had married at St Mary’s Church in 1915 whilst he was still a civilian. They lived at 124 Moorland Rioad, Davenport.

When he left school, Harry worked in the print department warehouse of Richardson, Tee, Ryecroft & Co, Portland Street, Manchester. Later, he was employed as a buyer for Isaac Thorp & Co, on Church Street in the city and, shortly before he joined up, he had started his own business. He enlisted in 1917and had gone on active service in the early part of 1918. He had only recently returned to duty from a short period of home leave.

One of Bob’s mates, Gunner S G Horner, wrote to Frances to tell her what had happened. He said that he’d been in the office when he’d heard a loud explosion coming from the workshop. He went to see and found that Bob was dead and a Staff Sergeant, with 25 years service, was lying mortally wounded. It appears that the Sergeant was going on leave in a few days and he and Bob had gone to a dump of German shells searching for a souvenir. Returning to the workshop, the sergeant had the shell between his knees and was trying to pull off the cartridge case, when it exploded.

Bob was buried two days later and 70 men attended. There was a procession down the Menin Road headed by a sergeant in front of the coffin which was on a gun carriage. The Major commanding the depot followed and then the rest of the men. Gunner Horner said it had been an impressive service. “As one of the very few I have met and who tried always only to excel in all that was noble and good out here, I shall miss Bob very much.”

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