Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the South Staffordshire area who died during the two World Wars.
James (known as Jim) Marshall was born at Essington early in 1896 and was baptised at the parish church on 29th March. He was the son of James, a coal miner, and his wife Alice.
After the death of James senior in 1905, Alice remarried. In 1911 James junior was living at Oaken with his step-father, John Worthington, a farm labourer, and his mother and younger brother. James was working as a farm labourer.
At the outbreak of war, Jim volunteered for the army, enlisting in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment in November 1914. He went to France in July 1915 in time to see action at the Battle of Loos. Jim's battalion was involved in the attack on Mametz on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1st July, 1916).
Jim went missing a few days later, on 14th July 1916, during the attack on High Wood. He was later 'presumed dead'.
"On the 14th July, the 1st South Staffs dug in under heavy shell fire, in a valley behind the British front line, and in the afternoon the 91st Brigade were ordered to attack High Wood moving to the assembly area through persistent shelling led by two companies of the Battalion on the left, with the Queens on the right. One mile over the fields, lay the wood, as yet undamaged, but at the outset forward Germans were found in the hollows and shell holes, and killed or captured. On the right, rode detachments of British and Indian cavalry, until they were forced to dismount by the machine gun fire. At about the same time, two of our planes swooped down to strafe the enemy with an interesting combination of modern and ancient warfare. Accurate machine gun fire from the left slowed down the Battalion, causing some loss, but the units forced their way into the forest, the dark adding to the difficulties. The Queens had captured the eastern edge of the wood by midnight and dug in; the Staffords were held up by a strong redoubt in the north west corner and gallant assaults by two platoons could not dislodge the enemy. . . The 1st Battalion could claim to have penetrated the German line, but it had suffered severely, the missing being very numerous owing to the confusion of units being mixed up and the dead and wounded lying hidden in the dense wood." [Dave Cooper, The Staffordshire Regiments (Churnet Valley Books, 2003)]
Private Jim Marshall, 15769, is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals and the 1914/15 Star.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg.