1st and 8th Battalions WW2

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1st and 8th Battalions WW2

Postby John M » Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:52 pm

Hello Worcesters!
I found your website recently and was interested to read the account of the 8th Bn retreat to Dunkirk. Mention is made in that article of 2nd/Lt John Moore but I am sorry to say that the photograph attributed to him is wrong. John was a good friend of my own father and as a teenager I spent many happy hours on his farm at Shelsley Beauchamp. I do have a photo which includes him but presently have no means of posting it here. This is a picture of a group of officers and wives outside the farmhouse near Market Rasen, Lincs, which was the mess for 8th Bn for some time until the Bn went to India in 1944. John Moore is present as well as Capt Berry, who was carrier officer in the Dunkirk story. Both my mother and father are in the photo. I remember going to Market Rasen as a small boy during summer holidays and staying in the mess.
My father (Capt JKG "Bunny" Marshall) transferred to 1st Bn in June 44 and served in France until he was killed at La Variniere on 7th August. He also served in France in 1940 but I am not sure if he was actually with the 8th Bn at that time. I have part of a draft report he wrote on return from France, which starts -
"Report of 2nd/Lt JKG Marshall the Worcestershire Regt, attached to HQ Coy Davies Rifles, Y Bde, Bow Div." It tells the story of a young Subaltern given the task of getting a platoon of 5 NCOs and 34 ORs "belonging to various light infantry regiments" back to the coast. The story starts on Friday, June 7th and goes on till the 11th, when the rest is missing. The route on his map starts in the countryside NE of Rouen and covers about 60 miles, ending in the forests West of Rouen. The dates are after most of the BEF were evacuated from Dunkirk and I imaging they would have got away from Le Havre.
I have never heard of the Davies Rifles anywhere else. Had my father been alive today, he would have been 94, so I don't suppose thereis anyone still living who knew him. But I would be very interested to hear from anyone who did know him. He is mentioned several times in Major Watson's book on 1st Bn in NW Europe.
John M
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Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:11 pm

Postby scully » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:55 pm

Hi John,

Many thanks for your interesting message about your father "Bunny" Marshall. Also thanks for pointing out the error with the photo of John Moore (the photo is in fact of Lieut. H. H. Moore).

I do have contact with a number of personal friends of mine who served with your father in the 1st Battalion in Normandy. As far as I am aware he was with the 1st Battalion for only a short time from 28th July to the 7th August 1944, when he was sadly killed on the 7th August, whilst commanding 'A' Company. At the time a Lieut. Johnnie Davies (Canadian Loan Officer) was commanding 7 Platoon of 'A' Company so he may remember your father. Johnnie is a family friend who lives in Ontario, Canada and I keep in contact with him - I will ask him if he remembers your father and let you know. I will also contact 3 other officers who were with your father and ask if they remember him. I also have a contact who was with the 8th Battalion at Dunkirk.

I will keep you advised.

I would be very interested in a copy of the photo you mentioned and I will send you a private email about that.

Best regards,

Louis (webmaster)
Site Admin
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Location: Surrey

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