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Marsh, John Anthony

Date of death:
November 14th, 1984 (Devonshire/Bermuda)
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


Service number 109524.

In his early life in England he was an Non Commisioned Officer in the Officer's Training Corps and achieved the Kingís Hundred at Bisley, a shooting competition. On leaving school he joined the Artistís Rifles as a private and at the outbreak of war was commissioned into the The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI). In 1942 he was posted to 1DCLI but, arriving in Egypt just after the disastrous Battle of Bir-el-Harmat, found no battalion to join. He therefore applied for transfer to the SAS and was accepted. He served with 1SAS in North Africa and was one of the first British forces to enter Tripoli when it was captured, leading a patrol in from the west as the main forces approached from the east. 1SAS went on to fight in Italy. Soon after the Normandy landings he was parachuted in behind enemy lines to help organize the Maquis and he continued behind the lines in Belgium, Holland, Germany and finally Norway.
After the war he was a Staff Captain at Taunton, before joining 1DCLI in Cyprus, serving with them in Cyprus and Somaliland. After a further staff appointment in Tripoli he returned to England as Training Major of 21SAS, now affiliated to the Artistís Rifles. In 1954 he rejoined 1DCLI in the West Indies. He took over ĎAí Company DCLI in Bermuda. He was so impressed by the kindness and hospitality of all he met there that after a tour as Adjutant and Training Major of 4/5 DCLI in 1957, he retired in 1958 and returned to Bermuda to work for the Trade Development Board. Six months later he was commissioned into the Bermuda Militia Artillery which he commanded until the amalgamation of the island forces when he commanded the Bermuda Regiment. On retirement he was awarded the OBE. Always a keen sailor, he coordinated the first Tall Ships Race in 1964 and ran the press office for the biennial Newport-Bermuda Ocean Yacht race.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Temporary Captain
A Section, No. 2 Troop, Special Raiding Squadron, Special Air Service (SAS), Combined Operations Headquarters, War Office, British Government
Awarded on:
January 27th, 1944
"Captain Marsh, with 56 men, was holding a front of one mile on the right flank of the Sector west of TERMOLI.
Despite the intensity of enemy fire he held fast and with his own fire pinned down groups of enemy infantry which attempted to infiltrate into his own position.
Striking north to join up with his right hand Section he came across two wounded men. Despite being completely cut off, he took the wounded men with him, until the enemy were finally pinned down by machine gun fire.
He eventually succeeded in evacuating all the wounded men to Allied lines under cover of darkness, although only 150 yards from an enemy post.
Captain Marsh showed great coolness and determination throughout. His high standard of courage, and complete disregard for his own personal safety throughout the Operation, played a decisive part in saving a very dangerous situation."
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
"In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe."
Second World War (1939-1945)
Met "8th ARMY" clasp.
Africa Star
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)