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Person Details
26 Aug 1896
He was the son of the Reverend Francis Marrs (a Methodist minister) and Mrs S G Marrs of 12 Baker Street Nottingham later Filey Street Sheffield and then 40 Duke Street Southport. He was the brother of Kate Evelyn and Edward Marrs who was killed 5/2/1917.
04 Mar 1917
804673 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
Worcestershire Regiment
Second Lieutenant Frederick Mallinson Marrs, 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, was killed in action on 4th March 1917, aged 20. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
The Action of the Worcestershires March 1917 South and east of the wood of St. Pierre Vaast, the little river Tortille runs down along a steep valley through the villages of Moislains and Haut Allaines to join the Somme below Peronne. Command of that valley was as yet denied to the British forces by the German positions which crowned its western heights; notably those immediately east of Bouchavesnes. Those German positions on the crest line effectively commanded the Bouchavesnes ravine. If those positions could be captured that observation would be denied to the enemy, while at the same time command would be secured over the whole Moislains valley, and the chance of forcing withdrawal upon the enemy would be greatly increased.That the attack would prove a serious operation was not doubted. The tactical importance of that position to the enemy was such that every effort would certainly be made to hold it: and in consequence all ranks of the Battalion worked their hardest to prepare fully for the coming struggle. The preparations for the attack were most careful. Near the camp an exact reproduction of the enemy's trench system was made and repeatedly attacked. While the 1st Worcestershire, in reserve, were training for the forthcoming attack at Bouchavesnes, the 2nd Worcestershire, closer to the line, were rehearsing for a smaller operation. As the 2nd Worcestershire drew back the 1st Worcestershire moved up to the heights above the Somme. After many weeks of preparation, the attack for which the Battalion had been training was at hand. The companies spent a few nights in reserve in billets at Vaux and Bray (February 22nd—24th at Bray, February 25th—27th at Vaux and February 28th at Bray again) and then marched forward on the first day in March to dugouts at Asquith Flats. Thence on the following evening the 1st Worcestershire moved forward to the line and relieved the 2nd Devons in trenches due east of Bouchavesnes; the trenches from which the attack was to be delivered. One fairly quiet day in the trenches followed. Then throughout the night of March 3rd/4th the British trenches were alive with quiet workers, eagerly preparing for the next morning's assault. THE ACTION OF BOUCHAVESNES This action was unaccountably omitted from the despatches of the C.-in-C. and hence is not to be found in the official list of battles: nor has a battle-honour for it been allowed, in spite of a petition from the Regiment. As dawn broke (5.30 a.m.) on March 4th the British artillery opened a barrage fire. The opening crash of the bombardment served as signal (This was a variant on the usual method of synchronised watches) to the battalions detailed for the attack, and all along the front of the British trenches troops swarmed out and poured forward in a series of waves. The 1st Worcestershire were in the centre of the attacking line, with the 2nd Northamptonshire on the left. The right flank of the Worcestershire was on the road from Bouchavesnes to Moislains; south of the road the 2nd Royal Berkshire continued the front of attack. Lieut.-Colonel George William St. George Grogan The attack was immediately successful. The German front line,"Pallas Trench," was easily overrun and the attackers swept onward to their further objective, "Fritz Trench," the German second line. Led by Captain N. H. Stone, Lieutenant R. A. O'Donovan and 2/Lieut. J. A. Smithin the Worcestershire platoons charged "Fritz Trench." These three officers were awarded the M.C. There was a short but desperate struggle. The enemy resisted to the last, but the attackers were not to be denied. For a few minutes a German machine-gun held up the onslaught, but the gun was rushed and captured by a party headed by Sergeant T. Guest. Sergeant Guest was awarded the D.C.M. for his actions. Within a quarter of an hour from the start "Fritz Trench" had been secured. In many places the trench had been so battered as to be unrecognisable; the attackers passed over it and pushed on down the slope to "Bremen Trench," the enemy's third line. There they bombed dugouts and roped in prisoners until it was realised that our own shells were falling closely around. Recognising from this that they had gone too far, those foremost of the victors fell back and rejoined the main body of the Battalion, who were busily working to prepare the captured positions for defence, under the personal direction of Colonel Grogan. The Colonel was everywhere, controlling the dispositions and the entrenchment, inspiring all by his own cheerfulness and courage. Colonel Grogan was awarded the D.S.O. for his gallant leadership. From "Fritz Trench" good observation could be obtained over the whole of the Moislains Valley. The captured position was in fact very important, and the whole weight of the enemy's artillery and infantry was at once thrown in to regain it. The work of consolidation was continued under an ever increasing bombardment from all directions, and soon the enemy commenced a series of violent counter-attacks. Most of those counter-attacks were made against the flanking Battalions and a fierce bombing struggle raged all the morning around "Fritz Cut," immediately to the left of the Worcestershire line; but presently the enemy began to dash forward in increasing numbers up the open slopes. The Worcestershire platoons opened a hot fire. Lance-Corporal F. H. S. Harley, in particular, did notable execution with his Lewis-gun, and the remnant of the attacking enemy were driven to cover. L/Cpl. Harley was awarded the D.C.M. All day the enemy's shells beat against their lost trenches, but by nightfall "Fritz Trench" was securely in our hands and the firing died away. Later the 2nd West Yorkshire came up to take over the captured ground, and the 1st Worcestershire, weary but triumphant, tramped back to "Asquith Flats." The casualties, nearly all due to the enemy's shell-fire, had been very heavy—over 200, including ten officers. Killed, 6 officers (Capt. R. P. Birtles, Lieut. R. M. Ross, 2/Lts. W. E. Deakin, F. M. Marrs, A. P. Rosling and W. Ward) and 44 men. Wounded 4 officers and 358 other ranks. Missing 11. Actions at Bouchavesnes (4th March 1917) [Key = British Trenches German Trenches Line gained on the 4th March 1917] After the action the 1st Worcestershire remained for three wintry days in Asquith Flats resting and cleaning up. The day after the battle was marked by a heavy snowstorm. Research Simon Williams
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