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Kindly shared by Mike Marsham

“James William Marsham, a cousin remembered”


It is only recently I discovered (thanks entirely to my wife’s interest in researching family history) that I am not the first member of my family to work for Midland Bank / HSBC.

(James) William was born in 1893, the second son of George William Marsham and Margaret Marsham of Seaham Harbour, Co. Durham.


William joined Midland Bank at the Stockton branch on 9 January 1911, the first day that the branch opened for business, his starting salary was £20 per annum. On 31 October 1912 he transferred to the Darlington branch, where he worked until he enlisted.


Having been rejected twice on medical grounds, William enlisted with The Durham Light Infantry on 21 September 1914 as Private 2767 of the 5th Battalion. William went to France in April 1915, he went through all the strenuous fights and long marches of that famous regiment until within a few months of the end, when the strain of the war upon a none too robust constitution (sic) rendered a change necessary. He was transferred to a Labour Battalion as Private 609959 of the 5th garrison and went into the office.


It is recorded that his death took place on 3 December 1918 in circumstances of peculiar sadness. Late in November he was seized with influenza, Pneumonia followed and he passed away in hospital 3 weeks prior to his 25th birthday. You will notice that he died a few weeks after the armistice.


William is buried at the St Andre Communal Cemetery in Lille, France. The inscription on his gravestone reads “Beloved son of G W & M Marsham, Darlington. He gave his life for others”. We visited his grave in October 2022 to pay our respects. William is also remembered on” The Ring Of Remembrance” International WWI memorial at Notre-Dame-De-Lorette near Arras. This memorial unifies the 600,000 killed in the area of all nations, listed in alphabetical order regardless of rank or nationality. It is impossible to truly convey in a photograph the share vastness of this memorial.


William is also remembered on The Bank war memorial located in Canada Square, London.

(Compiled from The Bank archives, and the Primitive Methodists Magazine, photo of James William shared with kind permission of the Primitive Methodists Magazine).


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