Bernard Marshall


Submitted by Michael Hardy.

Bernard was Michael’s first cousin 2 x removed.

Bernard Marshall enlisted 10 July 1915 as Private 32052 with the 13th Battalion, York & Lancs Regiment. He was employed as a "clerk" at the time and living with his parents on Holme Lane, Hillsborough. The 13th Y&L Battalion was better known as The Barnsley Pals. After training in the UK the Battalion arrived in France in March 1916 along with the Sheffield and Accrington Pals for the Somme Offensive. Bernard Marshall survived the slaughter of the Somme campaign and, in 1917 would have been involved in the Battle of Ancre and the Battles of the Arras Campaign.

On 15th July 1917, shortly after the Battle of Arras, Bernard Marshall shot himself in his left arm, fracturing his ulna and rendering himself unable to carry or fire his rifle. Whether this was a self-inflicted "blighty wound" inflicted deliberately in an attempt to be invalided back to the UK will never be known, but clearly the Military authorities took a dim view of the incident and Marshall was arrested and Court Martialled. A soldier could be shot for cowardice if found guilty of deliberately injuring himself to avoid front line combat. Marshall's wound was dressed in a medical clearing station near Etaples and a Field General Court Martial held on 30th July 1917. Marshall, in defence, claimed he had shot himself by accident. He said he had been cleaning his bayonet whilst balancing on a box of ammunition when a shell landed nearby causing him to slip off the box and accidentally press the trigger. He claimed not to have realised the gun was loaded at the time. Given his unblemished record in the war and good character references, the Court was not inclined to believe that Marshall had deliberately shot himself to avoid fighting, but found him guilty of "negligently wounding himself in the left arm", contrary to "the prejudice of good order and Military discipline". Marshall was jailed with hard labour for a spell but was sent into battle again and survived the war.

Born at 108 Weston street, Sheffield in 1888, Bernard survived the war and died at Sheffield in 1935.










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