Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Rowland Marsden

Rowland Marsden :

Rowland Marsden : 1914-15 Star

1914-15 Star

Rowland was born in around 1891 in Manchester, Lancashire. His father was called George and his mother was Mary Jane. He was their oldest child; Charles, Mary Jane and Edith were his younger siblings.

We don't know where the family lived when Rowland was born, but in 1901 they were at 14 Medlock Street in the New Cross area of Manchester. George worked as an iron bolt maker. He died, in his 60's, at some point between then and 1911. In this year Mary Jane lived with Rowland, Mary Jane junior and Edith at 14 Medlock Street. Rowland was the family's breadwinner; he worked as a street sweeper for the Manchester Corporation, the ancestor of the City Council.

The 1911 Census was taken in early April, and at around the same time Rowland began his military career. He enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and was given the service number 1426. The 8th Battalion was a unit of the Territorial Force based at Ardwick in Manchester. Rowland kept his home and job, and trained as a soldier during evenings and weekends. The battalion would also go on an annual training camp during the summer, lasting around 2 weeks.

Soon after the 1914 camp the First World War broke out. The Territorial Force was called into service in early August, and the 8th Battalion was sent overseas on the 10th September. They arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, on the 25th.

After less than a month in Egypt, on the 19th October Rowland was sent to Cyprus. This was a Turkish colony administered by Britain. As Britain and Turkey were now at war Rowland and the 8th Battalion took part in the British annexation of the island. They stayed there until the 23rd January 1915 when they returned to Egypt.

Rowland went to war in May 1915 when the 8th Battalion landed in Gallipoli. They landed on the 6th and were sent into the front lines after 4 days. The battalion spent 12 days at the front, holding the line under Turkish fire. They were then relieved and sent to the rear. The battalion was able to get some rest, but they were also used as labourers to build roads.

After 4 days of this, on around the 26th May, Rowland and the 8th Battalion returned to the front. He was killed in action on the 29th, aged around 24. The battalion did take part in an attempt to advance their front line at around this time, and took casualties in the effort, but we can't say for certain how Rowland died.

After the war Rowland's grave could not be found, so his name is one of the 20885 commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. Rowland's name can be found between Panel 158 and 170.

Rowland's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in February 1999. As well as his 1914-15 Star, Rowland was also awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council