Captain Henry Francis Freke Marsh 2nd Battalion King Edward’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) was mortally wounded at night-time when recovering wounded Sikhs from the ground in front of the enemy’s trenches on 2 February 1917 in Mesopotamia.
He was in the Orange from 1900 and with the Heylands and the Fields was largely influential in making the Dormitory what it was. He was in the School XV of 1903.
He went to Sandhurst in 1904. Commission and gazetted to the Indian Army he spent a year with the Royal Sussex Regiment. Whilst with the Royal Sussex he became renown for his boxing prowess, winning the Sirhind Cup at Umballa.
He then joined his Battalion, the 2nd Gurkhas, at Dehra Dun and served with them on the NW Frontier in 1907-08 and on the Abro Expedition of 1911-12, when he was mentioned in despatches.
At the start of the Great War the 1/2nd Gurkhas landed in France in October 1914 and had been rushed to the front to help stem the German assaults near Neuve Chapelle, where they were to stay until the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915. They had a significant role in the battle and the Indian Corps was then vital in defending Ypres after the German Gas attacks in April and May 1915.
The Corps was then moved to the Mesopotamia front as British service battalions became available for the Western Front in late 1915. They took part in the attempted relief of Kut in March, 1915, Marsh being again Mentioned in Despatches and was awarded the Military Cross:
“for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although wounded, he continued to command his company throughout the afternoon and evening, refusing to be carried back to safety. His cheerfulness and bravery inspired great confidence in his men.”
He was Adjutant of his Battalion at the time of his death on the 2nd February, 1917.
In lamenting his death, the Colonel wrote as follows :
“However, there it was, and we had lost one of the best fellows that ever stepped, when performing the most noble act that any man could do. . . .”
Like his fellow Gurkha and friend from the Orange Heyland he joined Siwalik Lodge No 2939 in Dehra Dun. He was initiated in 1910 and passed and raised the next year.
He was a member of the East India Club.