Sold with a superb array of photographs appertaining to Major W.J.R. Marsh, Glamorganshire Yeomanry, including coloured portrait photograph, in uniform wearing his Queen's South Africa Medal, in gold glazed frame; two other period portrait photographs; two Boer War period group photographs of the Officers and N.C.O.s of No. 4 Company, 1st Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, one partially captioned; and ten scenes from the Major's funeral at Abergavenny, in February 1905, when he was buried with full military honours, the cortege including 100 men from the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers and a gun-carriage loaned from the Royal Field Artillery based at Newport; together with other documentation, including a handwritten list of subscribers to 'Capt. W.J.R. Marsh's Presentation', and several newspaper cuttings reporting on his exploits in South Africa and subsequent death back home, aged just 35 years; and a Coronation Medal 1911, with related Dress Miniature.
4th (Glamorgan) Company, 1st Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry.
Major W.J.R. Marsh commanded the Glamorgan Company with distinction and the newspaper cuttings accompanying the lot give many details of his services in the Boer War in Rundle's "Starving Eighth" Division:
'The Glamorgans, who were in something like fifty engagements, formed part of the Eighth Division, and General Rundle remarked one day on parade that they were the best squadron in the division. The first engagement was Thaba N'chu and the last at Winburg. The late Major Marsh was in command, as Captain. On one occasion when returning from Standerton to Vrede with Sergeant Thomas and Trooper Norman Biggs, they came upon a party of Boers who opened a furious fire upon them. Biggs was wounded and his horse shot. Captain Marsh returned to his assistance and got the wounded man on to his pony but it threw him; then he got him upon Major Wyndham Quin's pony and got safely out of range. Once he had his pony shot under him, and in another engagement he sustained severe injuries to both wrists. Captain Marsh returned home on the 1st of August 1901, and was received by his fellow townsmen with enthusiastic expressions of congratulations and welcome.'
He died in 1904 at the early age of 35, a popular and important local figure in Abergavenny:
'By the genial requests of a number of our readers, who, we regret to hear were unable to procure a copy of last week's Mail, we reprint the biographical portion of what appeared in our last edition.
Major Marsh was born in May 1870 and was the son of Mr. John Owen Marsh, C.C., J.P., and Mrs. Marsh of St. Ronan's, Abergavenny and resided with his parents.
It was as a Volunteer that Mr. Marsh seems to have been best known, for it was amongst them that he gained the distinctions of which 'H' and 'I' Companies are proudly jubilant. In 1886 be became a Lieutenant in the Usk Company of the 4th Battalion, under the Captaincy of the present Mayor of Abergavenny, Major Williams. Upon the promotion of that gentleman, Lieut. Marsh was gazetted to the rank of Captain. At this time there was only one Company in existence in Abergavenny, viz., 'H', but another being formed - 'I' - it was attached, thus comprising 'H' and 'I' Companies, which were transferred to Abergavenny. Major Marsh would have been eligible for the long service medal in 1906.
Of the South African War, the deeds and distinctions of Major Marsh are well-known. When war broke out and volunteers were called for to offer for service in the field Major Marsh tendered his services on behalf of the Volunteers, but as there were others with a prior claim, his offer was not accepted. Convinced of his duty to his country, he completed his arrangements and joined the Imperial Yeomanry as a Trooper. This having become known, the members of the local battalion opened a subscription list, which was readily supported, and presented their comrade with an officer's field glass, in honour of his having volunteered for the front. He had not been long, however, as a Trooper in South Africa before his experiences as an officer brought him to the front rank, and he was promoted Lieut. with distinction, then Captain, to be followed by the rank of Major. At the close of war, in recognition of his services, the Government offered him a Lieutenancy in the Army, but, true to his colours, Major Marsh preferred to return to his native town, whence he left for active service, and there to join solely with the Volunteers. He was re-instated Captain of 'H' and 'I' Companies, upon the promotion of Lieut.-Col. Steel, who was then Captain. Lastly he was promoted to the rank of Major of the 4th Battalion, in charge of the Abergavenny detachment...'