Looking for soldiers that served prior to WW1? Find My Past is the best resource for finding information about Victorian-era Soldiers.
By far the best resource for WW1 research. WW1 Service Records, pension papers, medal index cards and casualty information.
Search through millions of archived British Newspaper Articles to find any references to your ancestors.

201474 Private Joseph William Marsden “B” Coy 2/4th Battalion

201474 Private Joseph William Marsden 1Joseph was born in Preston in 1893 to Alice Ann Worden, a young lady from Moon`s Mill, now known as the village of Higher Walton. Four years after Joseph was born Alice Ann Worden married James Marsden in the church of St. Peter in Preston on the 4th February 1897. Joseph had three brothers and three sisters; John (1897), Martha (1900), Thomas (1903), Margaret (1908), Jane and James (1909).

In 1901 Joseph and his family lived at 88 Gordon Street in Preston where his stepfather was employed by Preston Corporation as a street paviour. At the same address in 1911 James Marsden was still working as a paviour and Joseph and his brother John had both found employment in one of the local mills, Joseph as a weaver and John as a weaver`s `tenter`.

Joseph attested into the 4th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 31st May 1915 at Preston. He was allocated his original service number of 4012 which would later become 201474.

He was 22 years and 5 months old and quite a tall chap standing at five feet ten and a half inches tall, his chest was measured at 37 inches and his weight at 154lbs. Joseph confirmed that he was single and had no previous military experience. At the time of his enlistment his home address was given as 96 Gordon Street and he named his parents and brother Thomas as his next of kin. Joseph passed his medical inspection and was posted to the 3/4th (Reserve) Battalion LNL.

Joseph remained in training in England until the 7th February 1917 when he embarked for France with the 2/4th Battalion LNL, the Battalion coming under the command of the 170th Brigade in 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. Joseph was with the Battalion until the 26th May 1917 when he was attached to the traffic control police and only re-joined the 2/4th Battalion some fifteen months later on the 12th August 1918.

From the 21st October 1918 the Division was in the Templeuve region (south of Lille), carrying out some active patrolling and it was during this period that 3 men were killed, 3 Officers and 24 other ranks wounded. Joseph was severely wounded on the 23rd October with gun-shot wounds to his abdomen, back, right hip and scrotum. He was taken to number 51 Casualty Clearing Station and then on to the 55th General Hospital at Boulogne. Sadly, he finally succumbed to his wounds a month later, his date of death given as 23rd November 1918, twelve days after the Armistice.

After news of his death reached his parents, the local paper was informed and the following announcement was made;

 “Official intimation has been received, of the death from wounds received in action of Private Joseph Marsden, LNL Regiment, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Marsden of 96 Gordon Street, Preston. Deceased, who died on the 23rd ult; was 26 years of age. He had been in the army several years and had taken part in many important engagements”.

Joseph`s parents later took receipt of some of his personal belongings, these included; letters, photos, 1 note book, 1 address book, cards and a purse.

Joseph was buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille on the outskirts of Boulogne. After the war his mother received her sons` 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals to which he was entitled and would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll.

Rank: Private
Service No: 201474
Date of Death: 23/11/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.

201473 Signaller John Marsden “A” Coy 1/4th Battalion

John was born at 97 Greenbank Street in Preston and baptised in the Church of St. Peter on the 14th April 1897. He enlisted two days before his brother on the 29th May 1915, also joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was issued with the service number 4008 and posted to the 4th Battalion. He confirmed his address as 96 Gordon Street and that he had previously been working as a weaver for William Calvert & Sons in their Aqueduct Street Mill. John noted his age as 18 years and 127 days, however, when he had his medical, the Medical Officer recorded his `apparent age` as being 19 years and 2 months, (officially, you had to be 19 to go overseas). John was also a tall chap, standing at 5`9”, his weight was measured at 151lbs and he had a 36” chest. For official purposes he named his parents as his next of kin.

John embarked for France with a batch of reinforcements on Christmas Eve 1915 and on arrival was posted to the 1/4th Battalion as a member of “A” Company. In January 1916 the Battalion was transferred into the 164th Brigade of 55th (Western) Division and by the end of July 1916 the 55th Division was detailed to take part in the ongoing Battle of the Somme.

On the night of the 30th July they took their place in the line opposite the village of Guillemont, the plan being to capture the village (which had thus far proved to be a major sticking point) enabling further advance. On the night of the 8th August 1916 they assembled in trenches in Trones Wood in preparation for the attack. The attack was largely unsuccessful incurring a large number of casualties. After this failed attack the Division was relieved on the 14th – 15th August and they moved back to the west of Abbeville to rest and refit and spent their rest period in Saigneville and later at Millencourt.

On the 7th September the Brigade was recalled to the front and the Battalion marched from Fricourt to Montaubaun; here the sector of the front line extended from the eastern edge of Delville Wood in the direction of Ginchy, the Battalion and the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers occupying the trenches. “B” and “C” Companies were in front with “A” in support. Orders then came for an attack to take place on the afternoon of the 9th September.

Battalion History

At 16:45hrs on the 9th September 1916 the 1/4th Battalion was part of an attack launched by the XIV Corps. 164th Brigade (including B and C Companies if 1/4th LNL) was to attack and take a line of trenches that ran between Ginchy and Delville Wood. The plan was to `go over the top` and take Hop Alley and then Ale Alley. Hop Alley was taken but Ale Alley wasn`t reached due to the intensity of the enemy machine-gun fire. The attackers fell back to their original line.

The casualties were heavy, 24 men killed including Second Lieutenants W.E. Pyke and E.F. Falby. There were also 125 men wounded and a further 79 men missing, many were identified later as having been killed.

Sadly, John was one of the 79 men reported as missing after the attack. The Preston Guardian later published the following;

201474 Private Joseph William Marsden 2

John was still officially `missing` when the new style TF numbers came into force in January 1917 and so he was allocated his new service number of 201473. The Military Authorities eventually confirmed, for official purposes, that his death had occurred on or since the 9th September 1916.

After the war John`s mother took receipt of her sons` 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals. His family would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

The body of Signaller John Marsden was eventually recovered and his Identity Disc was returned to his family in Preston but it appears that this was the only personal item recovered.

John now rests in Deville Wood Military Cemetery on the Somme.

201474 Private Joseph William Marsden cwgc

Photo taken in July 2016

Rank: Private
Service No: 201473
Date of Death: 09/09/1916
Age: 19
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th

The Marsden Brothers are both remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston, and their names also appear on the Roll of Honour in their local Church of St. Peter`s in Preston.

St Peters Church Preston

Roll of Honour – St. Peter`s Church, Preston


Janet Davis
Latest posts by Janet Davis (see all)
(This post has been visited 365 times in the last 90 days)

3 Responses to The Marsden Brothers of Preston

  1. Stephen Marsden says:

    Thank you for this, very, very interesting. These two gentlemen were my Great-grand Uncles…..The Thomas Marsden (brother, born 1903) being my Granada.

    Thomas (my Grandad) always wanted to go to France to visit his brothers gravs, but never had the opportunity.

    I have some other photos of the brothers if you are interested please email me.


  2. Peter McMurrough says:

    My wife Carole ((nee Marsden) is the daughter of Thomas who was the brother of the two soldiers. Toms son Alan and eldest daughter Barbara all live here in Canada.Tom and Edna Marsden used to own a grocer at the corner of Osborne St and Christchurch st.

  3. Tina Cartmel says:

    Joseph Barton – was the brother of my nan Lilly Grime (nee Barton)whose son John Richard Grime is my father – we still live in Preston how great it is to see this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.
%d bloggers like this:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.