The AIF Project

Henry Melton MARSDEN

Regimental number1976
Place of birthSheffield, England
SchoolSheffield Central School, England
Age on arrival in Australia21
ReligionChurch of England
Age at embarkation31
Height5' 6.5"
Weight160 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Agnes Amelia Marsden, 140 Pitt Street, North Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date21 November 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit nameLight Trench Mortar Battery, 6th Reinforcement
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board RMS Osterley on 10 February 1917
An Embarkation Roll for the Light Trench Mortar Battery, 6th Reinforcement, does not appear on the AWM website.
Age at death from cemetery records32
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Lawrence Melton Marsden and Theresa Marsden, 108 Broomsgrove Road, Sheffield, England
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 10 February 1917; disembarked Plymouth, England, 11 April 1917, and marched into Australian Details No 3 Camp, Parkhouse.

Proceeded overseas to France to reinforce 36th Bn, 23 August 1917; taken on strength, 36th Bn, in the field, 1 September 1917.

On leave to United Kingdom, 21 March 1918; rejoined unit in Belgium from leave, 8 April 1918.

Killed in action, France, 12 April 1918.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Widow wrote to Base Records, 23 July 1920, regarding his war grave: 'I was not aware the Star of David was the Jewish faith. Therefore my wish is for neither [ i.e. presumably the Cross and the Star of David] to be placed on [the] headstone.'
SourcesNAA: B2455, MARSDEN Henry Melton

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