Baxenden Lads: Marsden F

15th November 1916

L/CPL 12483 FRED MARSDEN of the East Lancashire Regiment was killed in action on November 15th 1916 during the capture of Beaumont-Hamel in the Battle of the Ancre in the final stages of the Battle of the Somme in France.

Fred, a single man, lived with his parents Mr. & Mrs. Charles Marsden at 491 Manchester Road, Baxenden. Although he was only nineteen years of age he had been in the Army since he was sixteen. Before his enlistment he worked on the pit top at Huncoat Colliery.

The news of his death came not by official telegram, which was usually the case, but from a comrade home on leave in December, who broke the news to his parents on a visit to their home.

Fred had been in France eighteen months and had seen a great deal of heavy fighting. On November 15th 1916 his battalion advanced towards the German trenches under cover of an artillery barrage and heavy fog. They came under heavy German machine-gun fire and, as the ground was a morass of mud, they were unable to advance as arranged and so came under fire from the British artillery, causing many casualties. Fred was very possibly one of these.

He is buried in Munich Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, some five miles north of Albert. Amongst the hundreds of cemeteries in the Somme area, Munich Trench (so called because the site was a former German position) is a relatively small one with 126 graves, mostly of men who fell in the attack on the village.