Sydney Hammond Marsland, Lt, 11th Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Killed in action 7th August 1915 at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, aged 23
Sydney Hammond Marsland was born on 5th April and baptised on 5th May 1892 at Christ Church, Didsbury, the only son of Hannah Sarah (nee Hammond) and James Edward Marsland, a merchant, of Alyn Cottage, Palatine Road, Didsbury.
In 1901, eight year old Sydney was living at 62 Palatine Road with his parents and older sister Nora (aged 12).
Sydney was educated at Repton School from 1907, and enrolled at Clare College, Cambridge to study law in 1910, graduating in 1914. When the census was taken during the college vacation in 1911, Sydney was listed as a law student, staying with his family at ‘Woodstock’, a 13-roomed property on Barlow Moor Road in West Didsbury – possibly the building which is now ‘The Woodstock Arms‘ at 139 Barlow Moor Road.
By May 1914 the family had moved to Endon Hall, Kerridge, and Sydney joined Macclesfield Golf Club. After graduating from university, he followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a Grey Cloth Merchant (‘Grey Cloth’ is unfinished woven fabric).
The 11th Manchester Regiment was formed at Ashton-under-Lyne in August 1914, and Sydney joined the Battalion almost immediately, being made temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 9th September 1914. In April 1915, the Battalion moved to Witley Camp near Godalming, Surrey.
Sydney left Witley Camp with his Battalion on 5th July 1915 and boarded HMT Ascania at 11am on 6th July. The ship departed from Keyham Dockyard, Devonport at 6pm the next day, arriving at Malta at 7am on 15th July for a brief stop. Later that day the ship left for Alexandria, where they docked for two days and then sailed to Mudros for an overnight stop, finally arriving at Kephalos Bay, Imbros at 6am on 24th July, where they disembarked. The strength of the Battalion at this point was 28 officers, and 2 attached; and 899 men and 1 attached. Whilst at Kephalos, two men were accidentally drowned whilst bathing.
The Battalion, which formed part of the 34th Infantry Brigade, left Kephalos on 6th August on lighters (barges), towed by HMTBO ‘Beagle’ and ‘Thunderer’ to Suvla Bay. The lighters were released at 10.30pm about one mile from Suvla Bay and travelled the remaining distance under their own power. However, they landed about one mile south of the intended beach, and ran aground about 200-300 yards away from the beach, one of them in water 6 feet deep so it was difficult and time-consuming to get the men ashore and a machine gun and signalling equipment had to be left behind. Disembarkation took place under heavy enemy rifle fire from Lala Baba.
In the early hours of 7th August the Battalion was positioned about half a mile inland, astride Karakol Dagh ridge. They moved rapidly along this ridge for about 3 miles until further progress became impossible due to heavy losses; the Battalion was later relived by Battalions from the 10th Division. Sydney Marsland was one of the seven officers and over 200 men who lost their lives during this action.
Sydney’s father, James Marsland, was a member of Bollington Conservative Club but did not attend the Conservative Club’s half-yearly general meeting which took place on Monday 30th August 1915; Sydney’s death was mentioned at the meeting and a report of the meeting was published in the Macclesfield Courier of 4th September 1915:
“The chairman then said that since the last half-yearly meeting a roll of honour had been published and more names had been added since then making the total number of men from that club 29. Last Saturday week news had come into the village that one of them, Lieutenant Sydney Marsland, had given his life for his King and country. It was a very sad thing because he was the only son of his father and mother who had borne the loss with extraordinary nobility. Lieut. Marsland was not a strong man, and the doctor had told his father that if he did not want his son to go he could stop him. But Lieutenant Marsland said that he would not go back home without … wearing his uniform, and he had had his way, and then gone out to his death.”
“…his parents were wishful of getting to know how he had met his death…. and they found that one of the men from the same regiment was in a hospital at Alderley. They went to see him and found that he was a man who had been a servant to their son. This man had been within eight yards from Lieutenant Marsland when he was killed. It was a great consolation to know that he was killed instantly by an explosive bullet.”
Sydney’s parents later lived at ‘Brocklands’, Alderley Edge.
Lt. Sydney Marsland has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 158 to 170 of the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Lt. Sydney Marsland, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Locally, Lt. Sydney Marsland is commemorated on the Macclesfield Golf Club Roll of Honour, Kerridge (Oak Lane), Bollington (Palmerston Street) and Bollington Parish war memorials, and on a stained glass window in Bollington St Oswald’s Church.
He is also remembered on his parents gravestone in Alderley Edge cemetery, grave ref. 24, with the inscription:
“Also of Sydney Hammond Marsland, only son of the above, Killed at Suvla Bay 7th Aug 1915 aged 23 yrs”
Elsewhere, Sydney H. Marsland is commemorated on the Repton School War Memorial.