Sergeant Thomas James Marshall

 

 

Thomas James Marshall was born on 16 April 1899 at Ballyalbanagh, Ballycor, County Antrim, the third of four children of farmer John Marshall and his wife Jenny (formerly Wilson). He grew up on the family farm before finding employment at the York Street Spinning Company, Belfast.

On 7 May 1917 he enlisted in the North Irish Horse, soon after his 18th birthday. On 30 August 1917 he was one of a number of men of the regiment compulsorily transferred to the infantry (though retaining their cavalry rate of pay). All were posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, at Belfast. Marshall was issued regimental number 20222, with the rank of Rifleman.

After a brief period of training Marshall embarked for Egypt, where he joined the 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. Later that year or in the early months of 1918 he was wounded in the fighting in Palestine and evacuated to hospital in Egypt.

On 15 May 1918 the 6th Battalion was disbanded at Deir-en-Nidham in Palestine. Marshall was transferred to the Leinster Regiment (No.20367) and posted to either the 1st or 6th Battalion.

Where he subsequently served is at present unknown, but he was wounded again and is said to have been gassed.

On 26 July 1919 he transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps (No. S/452115), where he was given the rank of transport Sergeant.

Following his discharge Marshall returned to the York Street Mill, where he worked until he retired. He died in 1978.

 

 

 

Marshall (in uniform) with his brother in the 1940s

 

Image 1 from the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph of May 1918 kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com). Images 2-4 kindly provided by Ray Marshall.