The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Robert Walter
- Regimental #:
- ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
- Place of Birth:
- Pinjarra, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Walter James Marsh
- Mothers's Name:
- Beatrice Kathleen Marsh (nee Munday)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Kranji War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row C, Grave 9, Age 18.
- Cause of Death:
- Died of Wounds
- Place of Death:
- A. G. H. Roberts Barracks Changi
- Date of Death:
- A.I.F. Cemetery Changi, Grave No. 19
Marsh was a 2/4th reinforcement and joined ‘E’ Company.
Soldier was wounded in a Japanese ambush at South-West Bukit Timah on 11.2.1942. He stayed out with Laurence Kearney, also from ‘E’ Company until captured by the Japanese on 7.3.1942 and we believe he with Kearney we taken to ‘Seamen’s Retreat’ ** in Singapore where there were civilians also hospitalised.
They were not seen by a doctor and Marsh became worse in a delirious state. Marsh was delivered by Japanese to Australian General Hospital at Roberts Barracks Changi with gunshot wounds to his left hip and stomach, Robert Marsh died of wounds about 4 weeks later on 5.4.1942, it was 53 days since the ambush.
His Funeral Service was conducted by Padre F. Bashford from the 2/4th Australian Casualty Clearing Station on 6.4.1942.
Kearney wrote in his Casualty Statement to AMF – Marsh and Kearney were still free after capitulation on 15 February 1942 and were not picked up by Japanese until 7 March 1942 and taken to Singapore.
Kearney wrote ‘Marsh seemed to be doing ok but then was in a bad way, became delirious through lack of (medical) attention with the Japanese (presuming they were imprisoned by Japanese and not with the POWs) and moved to the POW hospital at Changi. Kearney was informed on 22 March by Australian M.C. that there was no hope for Marsh. Robert Marsh died on 5 April 1942.’ He was 18 years old and had enlisted underage.
‘Marsh had been given a blood transfusion at Changi and when they called back next day for further one, they were informed Marsh had died.
From A.D. Winter.’
Below: AGH Roberts Barracks in damaged state after war.
Robert Marsh enlisted 12 November 1941 and as a reinforcement boarded the ‘Aquitania’ with 2/4th to sail to Singapore on 16th January 1942. He recorded his birth year as 1919, but was in fact born 1923. He had been in the AIF less than four months when he died of wounds 5 April 1942.
Walter James Marsh married Beatrice Kathleen Haub (nee Munday) at Pinjarra 1921.
Her first husband Otto Haub was murdered (shot) by his neighbour.
Robert’s mother Kathleen ‘Una’ Marsh (nee Munday) was from a large farming family at Bungulla, near Tammin.
Son Robert George and Merle Marsh, farmed at Kalgarin. He did not learn much of his father until he and his wife Merle Chatfield married.
Merle is in fact a niece of George Keith Chatfield WX11279 of 2/4th MGB,
Robert’s mother Beatrice Kathleen Marsh (nee Haub) married Walter James Marsh 1922 at Pinjarra and Robert Walter was born in 1923. She was previously married to Otto Haub.
Walter James Marsh and Beatrice Kathleen Marsh divorced in the 1950s. Many years later in about 1959, Beatrice Kathleen Marsh married Percy George Cooper Palmer, having worked for him as a housekeeper.