RFA West Lancs Bdes
680866 PTE. J. MARSDEN. R.F.A.
John Marsden was born on 18 January 1876 in Blackburn. His father was Christopher Marsden (b. 1847 in Blackburn), a carder in a cotton mill. His mother was Margaret Langton (b. 1850 in Blackburn). Christopher and Margaret were married in 1870 and had 8 children, 2 of whom died in infancy: Richard (b. 1872), Alice (b. 1874), then John, then Mary Agnes (b. 1879), Christopher (b. 1881), Margaret (b. 1884), Nancy (b. 1855), George Edward (1888-1889) and a second George Edward (b. 1891). The Marsden family moved to Bamber Bridge in 1884 and in 1911, Christopher and Margaret were living with their four unmarried children at 300 Station Road. John was a cotton weaver. Margaret died in 1912 and Christopher died in 1915, just before John enlisted.
John signed up in May 1915 with the other Briggers in the 2nd (West Lancashire) Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, which later became 286 Brigade and he was almost certainly in “C” Battery. 286 Bde went to France in February 1917 and in June that year fought in the defence of Armentières. It’s impossible to know what action John was involved in; in fact it seems likely that he never made it to France. He has no medal records and he died from a pre-existing heart condition at Prees Hall Hospital, Whitchurch, Shropshire, on 30 June 1917. He was 41 years old.
Service Number: 680866
Date of Death: 30/06/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “C” Bty, 286 Bde
Cemetery/memorial reference: 298.
Cemetery: BAMBER BRIDGE (ST. SAVIOUR) CHURCHYARD EXTENSION
John’s nephew is Christopher Fletcher. Christopher was born on 16 May 1899 and he enlisted aged 17 on 27 July 1916 in the Royal Marines Light Infantry. I don’t have any further information about where he served, but he returned home, and died in 1956.