war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper




William Alfred Henry Marsh was born on 15 February 1888, the son of George Marsh and his wife Ann Elizabeth, née Frost, who had married on 15 April 1876 at St Andrews, Buckland. Mr Marsh was then a labourer. The couple had six children; the first was Emily Elizabeth Louise, born on 9 May 1880, followed by George William Thomas, born on 17 October 1881, when the family were living at 6 Winders Row, off the London Road.

The family changed their address to 153 London Road, and there were born Annie Florence Nerissa, on 26 July 1884, Emily Bertha Maud, on 5 September 1886, and William. Their father had been working as a brewers' labourer, but then changed to become an engine driver, probably in the paper factory, where he is recorded as a stoker in 1901, as was his son George.

The family moved again to Valley Road, River, where Louise Grace Eveline was born on 19 September 1890, and by 1901 Emily Elizabeth ("Elizabeth") and Emily were both dressmakers, while Annie ("Florence") had become a domestic servant. By 1911 Emily and Louise were working as cook and housemaid respectively in the home of John Aaron Robson, a bank manager of 6 Pencester Road.

Later that year, on 9 December 1911, William married Elizabeth Mary Kate Laws ("Kitt"), born 17 October 1897, at St Andrews. From 6 Valley Road, he was working at the Wiggins Teape paper mill as a wooden-box maker. There were three children in the family; Sydney, born about 1914, George, 1920, and Joan, about 1922.

William served in the Buffs as 200293, during the Great War, and in 1918 he joined the Royal Sussex Regiment as 260159, when he served in France and Belgium.

He was not enamoured of his service, writing to his wife on 23 August 1916, "Dear Kitt, This is the way we have our kits inspected of a Sunday; this is not our Company though. Am having a rotten time. Will try and write more tomorrow. Thanks for letters received today. With best love to you all at home, Will",

After the war William resumed his previous occupation, being described as a packing-case maker in 1939, when the couple lived at 66 Oswald Road. He became an air raid warden in the Second World War.

The certificate, signed by the Chief Air Raid Warden, reads,


1939 - Civil Defences - 1941

In appreciation of valuable services rendered under difficult conditions it is hereby recorded that Mr W A H Marsh served on the above defences as an Air Raid Warden from September 1939 to September 1941 during which period the Great Air Battle of Britain was fought in the Autumn of 1940 and the Town of Dover was frequently attacked by enemy aircraft and shelled by guns fired from the coast across the English Channel.



William Marsh died in 1982. Mrs Elizabeth Marsh was first cousin to Thomas Laws.

photographs of William Marsh as an officer during the Great War and, below, in Belgium
with thanks to Diana Miller

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