CWG: Lance Corporal Thomas Marston

Lance Corporal Thomas Marston

Thomas Henry Robert Marston was born on 12th February 1876, the son of Frederick and Elizabeth Marston. Frederick was a police constable who raised his family in the Paddington area of London.

Sadly, details of Thomas’ early life are tantalisingly scarce. He was not baptised until October 1881, on the same day as his brother, Frederick, who was four years younger.

Thomas seems to have had a sense of adventure; his Commonwealth War Graves Commission records confirm that he served in the South African Campaign – this would put him out of the country during the 1890s, and reinforce why documentation for that time is missing.

The next confirmed information for Thomas is his marriage record. He wed Bessie Ponder by banns in August 1909. The ceremony was at Christ Church in Marylebone, and the couple went on to have two children, Doris, born in 1911, and Hettie, born in 1912.

By the time of the 1911 census, with his military service by now complete, Thomas and Bessie were living on the Caledonian Road in Islington. Still childless at this point (although Bessie was undoubtedly pregnant), Thomas was working as a butcher.

The census gives their address as 54 Wallace Buildings, a Victorian tenement block, and the couple lived in two rooms. Their neighbours at No. 53 were fellow butcher Ralph Bonest, his wife Isabel and their three children, who also all lived in two rooms. On the other side newlywed cab driver William Barnes, lived with his wife Florence and her sister. The Barnes’ had the luxury of No. 55 being a three-roomed flat.

When the Great War broke out, it seems evident that the 38 year old Thomas was either re-mobilised or voluntarily re-enlisted. While the dates are not certain, he had joined the Army Service Corps by March 1917 and was assigned to the Remount Depot at Romsey in Hampshire. This section of the regiment was involved in the provision of horses and mules to other parts of the army.

No further details of Lance Corporal Marston’s military career remain. Sadly, the next record of his life confirm his death. He was admitted to the Hursley Camp Hospital with rupture of viscera (possibly an aneurysm), but died from his injury on 31st October 1917. He was 41 years old.

At some point after the 1911 census, the family had moved to Worthing in West Sussex. The body of Thomas Henry Robert Marston was brought back home, and he was laid to rest in the Broadwater Cemetery in the town.


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