Tony Marsh as a young officer SAS. Courtesy Johan Wiegman

Lt. Col. JA Marsh DSO, OBE. The Bermuda Regiment

Lt. Col. JA Marsh DSO, OBE. The Bermuda Regiment

Major JA Marsh DSO.  Officer Commanding A Coy, 1DCLI Prospect Garrison Bermuda circa 1957

Major JA Marsh DSO. Officer Commanding 'A' Coy, 1DCLI Prospect Garrison Bermuda circa 1957

The Marsh Family Bermuda circa 1957

The Marsh Family Bermuda circa 1957

Command Transfer 1954 A Coy 1DCLI Prospect Garrison Bermuda

Command Transfer 1954 A Coy 1DCLI Prospect Garrison Bermuda

Medals of Lt. Col. JA Marsh DSO OBE


(Ed: 12th May 2009): Co-incidental with our Caribbean Re-Union in Penzance next month, a Military Historian has forwarded interesting Memorabilia for our former “A” Company 1DCLI, Commanding Officer Major J.A. Marsh DSO OBE (SAS). This material opens up the opportunity for the publication of a dedicated blog page which is offered to the permanent memory of the soldier and gentleman who guided us young soldiers through our National Service period during 1954-1957. We hope that additional photographic and anecdotal contributions will flow in due course. The Editor on behalf of all “A” Company 1DCLI, wishes to thank in particular Johan Wiegman of The Netherlands who has kindly forwarded the following Obituaries, Citations, many photographs including the Lt. Col. in full Mess Dress, extracted from the SAS Regimental magazines Mars and Minerva; and for the extracts from the Journal of the Light Infantry.

We acknowledge with thanks also the contributions from other authors for their work, which is reproduced here. We acknowledge with thanks too, the photographs taken from the collections of Barry Cornish, Neil Swanson, Terry Simons, Fraser Pakes, Mike Woolley and the editor himself. We shall gradually add more personal photographic memorabilia to this site, some of which is already published on the many 1DCLI websites and blog sites that can be viewed on the linked addresses featured in the Blogroll (rhs).

Obituary from the Journal of the Light Infantry

MARSH. Lt. Colonel John Anthony Marsh DSO, OBE died suddenly at his home in Devonshire Bermuda on the 14th November 1984, aged 64. Keenly interested in the Army from boyhood, he was an Under-Officer in the OTC and achieved the King’s Hundred at Bisley. On leaving school he joined the Artist’s Rifles as a private and at the outbreak of war was commissioned into the DCLI (he nearly burnt down the Officer’s Mess). 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. Tony_Marsh_original_SAS_wingsHe therefore applied for transfer to the SAS and was accepted. He served with 1SAS in North Africa and was probably the first British Officer 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 and was at Termoli on 5th October 1943 that, still as a junior officer, he won an outstanding DSO.

With Frazer Mcluskey, Parachute Padre

With Frazer Mcluskey, Parachute Padre

Soon after the Normandy Landings he was parachuted in behind enemy lines to help organise the Maquis and he continued behind the lines in Belgium, Holland, Germany and finally Norway. He was twice Mentioned in Dispatches.
Victory Parade Norway 1945

Victory Parade Norway 1945

After the war he went back to a somewhat tamer life of a Staff Captain at South West District 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 Artist’s Rifles. Life had come to a full circle and he was presented with a pewter tankard which, as Private JA Marsh OC ‘C’ Company, Artist’s Rifles, he had won at Bisley in 1939, but which he had not received, as war intervened! In 1954 he rejoined 1DCLI in the West Indies. He took over ‘A’ Company in Bermuda and was responsible, not only for a number of very high powered guards of honour to world statesmen, but for the organisation of Tattoos which are still remembered on the island. 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.
Regimental Crest of The Bermuda Regiment

Regimental Crest of The Bermuda Regiment

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 co-ordinated the first Tall Ships Race in 1964 and ran the press office for the biennial Newport-Bermuda Ocean Yacht race. Col Marsh was not only a gallant Officer, but a man with wide and varied accomplishments who lead a full life and made many friends. We extend our sincere sympathy to his widow Priscilla and to Simon his son.


LIEUTENANT (TEM. CAPT) JOHN ANTHONY MARSH DCLI Special Raiding Squadron, 1st SAS Regiment.

Captain Marsh, with fifty six men, was holding a front of one mile on the right flank of the Sector west of Termoli.

At mid-day on the 5th October 1943, his positions were subjected to very heavy and accurate shelling and mortar fire, at the height of which, his position was further weakened by the transfer of one of his sections to another sector.

Ribbon bar DSO upper left

Ribbon bar DSO upper left

At this time the enemy was developing a determined counter-attack on his left flank. Despite the intensity of enemy fire he held fast and with his own fire pinned down groups of the enemy infantry which attempted to infiltrate into his position. Later in the afternoon several of his men were badly wounded, whilst some distance away on his right flank his remaining other section was being gradually forced back.
MID 9th November 1945

MID 9th November 1945

Although by this time, Captain Marsh’s position had become untenable, he refused to move until he was able to communicate his intention to the troops on his left. Meanwhile, with his few remaining men, he succeeded in beating off further attacks on his position by German Infantry.

Striking north to join up with his right hand section he came across two wounded men. From them he learned that he was completely cut off, but pushed on, taking the wounded men with him, until finally pinned down by machine gun fire. He eventually succeeded in evacuating all the wounded men to our own lines under cover of darkness although only 150 yards from an enemy post.

Throughout Captain Marsh showed great coolness and determination. His high standard of courage and complete disregard for personal safety throughout the operation played a decisive part in saving a very dangerous situation.

Lt Tony Marsh DSO. SAS circa 1943

Lt. Tony Marsh DSO. SAS circa 1943

LT. COL J A MARSH, DSO, OBE (Derrick Harrison writes)

Tony Marsh, who died in Bermuda on 14th November 1984, served in 1SAS for nearly 3 ½ years. He arrived in the Middle East with the 56th Highland Division, destined for the Battle of Alamein. Instead from September 1942 to February of the following year, found him raiding in the Western Desert as part of (then) Major ‘Paddy’ Mayne’s ‘A’ Squadron. As right hand man to Harry Poat, another refugee from 56HD and later to become 2IC of 1SAS, he took part in the Kufra raids, operating against Benghazi and as far as Tripoli West before returning to Kabrit.1SAS

1SAS had by this time been reorganized as the Special Raiding Squadron and Tony, now a Captain took over “a’ Section of 2 Troop. With the SRS he took part in the capture of the coastal batteries at Cape Murro di Porco, preparing the way for the Sicily Invasion; in the daylight landing to capture the Port of Augusta; the landing at Bagnara on the Italian mainland in the rear of the German defensive positions; and the landing at Termoli on the Adriatic Coast.

Somewhere in Italian occupied Libya 1942 or 1943

Somewhere in Italian occupied Libya 1942 or 1943

It was during the later battle to hold Termoli, when the German counter attacked in division strength, that Tony Marsh showed most clearly those natural qualities of command that earned him the respect of all who operated with him. At one stage of the battle, while commanding a scratch force of 1 ½ sections, he found himself cut off from the main body of the SRS.

After the heat of the battle

After the heat of the battle

Despite heavy mortaring and shelling, he organised his defensive position with the calmness of someone on exercise, finally getting his small force and his wounded back to our lines under cover of darkness. It was these qualities of command which earned him his DSO.
SAS Officers from left Tony Marsh, Roy Close, Harry Poat, Peter Weaver

SAS Officers from left Tony Marsh, Roy Close, Harry Poat, Peter Weaver

Back in the UK in 1944, with the formation of the Special Air Service Brigade, Tony now a Major, took command of ‘C’ Squadron of the reconstituted 1SAS Regiment. During the Battle for France, some elements of his Squadron operated in their small group role. He himself took the remainder of his Squadron through the German lines to relieve ‘A’ Squadron which had been operating out of the Houndsworth base in the Morvan.

Major Tony Marsh's jeep in Belgium named after an Italian airfield

Major Tony Marsh's jeep in Belgium named after an Italian airfield

There followed a winter in Holland on Field Security support and liaison duties; then the final drive into Germany over the bridge at Meppen towards Oldenburg and Wilhelmshaven, as part of a 1½ squadron force operating ahead of the Canadian armour. He finished his SAS war in Norway helping disarm some 300,000 German troops.

Belgium: side view of Fuka jeep

Belgium: side view of Fuka jeep

Tony Marsh was not only a first class Commander, clear thinking and unruffled in action, he was an understanding and compassionate man with a fund of boyish good humour, deservedly respected and regarded with great affection. He will truly be missed by all who knew him and operated with him.

HRH Princess Margaret accompanied by Major AJ Marsh circa 1955

HRH Princess Margaret accompanied by Major JA Marsh circa 1955

Major Tony Marsh and Driver, Cpl Barry Cornish 1955

Major Tony Marsh and Driver, Cpl Barry Cornish 1955

HRH Princess Margaret, March 1955, escorted by Major JA Marsh DSO.

HRH Princess Margaret, March 1955, escorted by Major JA Marsh DSO.

The above doctored photo is a fresh copy of a clipping from The Mid Ocean News or from The Royal Gazette sent in by Will Marsh, and is the classic ‘Royal’ shot of the entire ‘A’ Company posting. We still require an original in good condition to replace the one above. It must be in someone’s kit somewhere. Please search ASAP and email a .jpeg to Editor

C.O. Major JA Marsh as guest of the Cpls Mess 1956, Prospect Garrison

C.O. Major JA Marsh as guest of the Cpls Mess 1956, Prospect Garrison

Mike Woolley, Simon Marsh and Sabre, Bermuda 1956

Mike Woolley, Simon Marsh and Sabre, Bermuda 1956

Big4 Conference 1957

Big4 Conference 1957

Church Parade circa 1955 Prospect Garrison

Church Parade circa 1955 Prospect Garrison

Major Williams & Major Marsh. Transfer of Command A Coy 1954

Major Williams & Major Marsh. Transfer of Command A Coy 1954

Civic Parade, Hamilton 1957

Civic Parade, Hamilton 1957

Marriage Announcement

Marriage Announcement

Tony Marsh and sister Moira at Buckingham Palace

Tony Marsh and sister Moira at Buckingham Palace

Major & Mrs Priscialla Marsh at a social occasion

Major & Mrs Priscilla Marsh at a social occasion

We are indebted to Caroline, daughter of Moira, Tony Marsh’s sister for the 3 photographs immediately above. Caroline has supplied other pix and clippings that have either been published to the other “A” Company and Personal Memorabilia websites, or to bermuda-online (in the case of the HRH Princess Margaret photo). We happily await more Marsh memorabilia for publication in due course.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS BELOW ARE BEING UPLOADED ON 15TH AUGUST 2009. Kindly forwarded by Will Marsh, the grandson of our former C.O. Some of the pix are replications of those on the “A” Company site, others are part of the President Eisenhower Guard of Honour at Allbuoy’s Point, Hamilton in 1957,shown also as part of the Fraser Pakes’ Mermoirs. Note the Bermuda Div flash (post 1955) and also Sgnt Carling with the Major in a group of Bermuda Rifles. We shall refine the pix captions in due course.

HQ Platoon (?) circa 1955

HQ Platoon (?) circa 1955

1 Platoon, circa July 1955.  Bill Edwards (Cpl) RIP, 2nd from left, front rank.  Tug Wilson Sgnt.

1 Platoon, circa July 1955. Bill Edwards (Cpl) RIP, 2nd from left, front rank. Tug Wilson Sgnt.

Interesting photo. The Major and Sgnt Carling being the only 2 1DCLI among what appears to be Bermuda Rifles or Bermuda Police. Ed's guess circa 1957

Interesting photo. The Major and Sgnt Carling being the only 2 1DCLI among what appears to be Bermuda Rifles or Bermuda Police. Ed's guess circa 1957

Circa '56-'57, titled IMG but event unidentified.  Major Marsh, CSM Hallett, Brig. Rice Evans

Circa '56-'57, titled IMG but event unidentified. Major Marsh, CSM Hallett, Brig. Rice Evans

March 1957. President Eisenhower and Brit PM Harold McMillan. Honour Parade, Allbuoys Point Hamilton

March 1957. President Eisenhower and Brit PM Harold McMillan. Honour Parade, Allbuoys Point Hamilton

As above.  Eisenhower and MacMillan Guard of Honour

As above. Eisenhower and MacMillan Guard of Honour

As above.  Believed to be March Past, Front St Hamilton

As above. Believed to be March Past, Front St Hamilton

Circa 1956.  Believed to be Canadian Prime Minister.  Escorting Captain believed to be Andrew Arthur.

Circa 1956. Believed to be Canadian Prime Minister. Escorting Captain believed to be Andrew Arthur.

HRH Princess Margaret escorted by Major JA Marsh circa March 1955.

HRH Princess Margaret escorted by Major JA Marsh circa March 1955.

Possibly a Peppercorn Ceremony March Past. St Georges. circa 1956

Possibly a Peppercorn Ceremony March Past. St Georges. circa 1956

Company Christmas Party circa 1956

Company Christmas Party circa 1956

Peppercorn Ceremony, St Georges, circa 1956

Peppercorn Ceremony, St Georges, circa 1956


MOST RECENT PHOTO UPDATES ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION (10th September 2009). We are indebted to Keith Mannings for these latest additions to the Marsh Memorabilia. The Picasa Album (hotlinked below) is a collection of Archival material acquired from the Bermuda Government Records by Keith during his visit in August 2009. Read also my latest blog comment advising progress.



"A" Company 1DCLI, Prospect Garrison Bermuda, March 1954. Taking over the Garrison, under Major Williams.

A Company 1DCLI, Prospect Garrison Bermuda, March 1954. Taking over the Garrison, under Major Williams

Lieut. General Sir John Woodall KBE, CB, Governor and C in C Bermuda 1956-1960 and Major JA Marsh DSO

Lieut. General Sir John Woodall KBE, CB, Governor and C in C Bermuda 1956-1960 and Major JA Marsh DSO

Circa 1957. Band and Bugles 1DCLI. Front St. Hamilton.

Circa 1957. Band and Bugles 1DCLI. Front St. Hamilton.

March 1955. HRH Princess Margaret inspecting A Company. Major JA Marsh CO.

March 1955. HRH Princess Margaret inspecting A Company. Major JA Marsh CO.

Circa 1956 A Company. Peppercorn Ceremony. St Georges.

Circa 1956 A Company. Peppercorn Ceremony. St Georges.

Circa 1957. General Eisenhower inspecting A Company

Circa 1957. General Eisenhower inspecting A Company

A Company, 1DCLI and American Marines addressed by President Eisenhower. Allbuoys Point, 1957 Big 4 Conference

A Company, 1DCLI and American Marines addressed by President Eisenhower. Allbuoys Point, 1957 Big 4 Conference

Govt House Function 1957.  Major & Mrs Marsh rear row left.

Govt House Function 1957. Major & Mrs Marsh rear row left.

Warwick Camp, circa 1960.  SAS visiting Bermuda Regiment

Warwick Camp, circa 1960. SAS visiting Bermuda Regiment


34 Responses to LT. COL. JA MARSH, DSO OBE. RIP


    On request from Johan Wiegman, I have reinstated this page and opened it to further comments. It’s evidence that a show of support can ensure that 1DCLI history continues to be displayed, but it is a 2 way street.

    Thanks Johan

  2. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    I fully endorse what you have said about were Major T Marsh our CCommander A COY 1/DCLI. I think I can say as a soldier who served in A COY at that time and the respect that I and I know all that served under his command that all his Medals and his honourable service memoriabilia should have gone to the DCLI and SAS Museums. Having served for over 22 years with N/S and TA and RMR I have served under many high ranking Senior Officers Major Tony Marsh is on par with all of them. I know I speak on behalf of all DCLI soldiers who served under his command would say the same.

    Neil(Swanny) Swanson on behalf of DCLI-LI- Rifles Association West Cornwall Branch.

  3. Seán Pòl Ó Creachmhaoil says:

    Having helped create the Bermuda’s Defence Heritage Exhibit at the Bermuda Maritime Museum, I take offence at its denigration. Col. Marsh chose to make Bermuda his home. It’s a fitting repository for his medals. He was my boss, as well. The deputy director of Bermuda’s Department of Tourism, he died a few weeks before retirement, as I recollect. I attended his funeral with Major Donald H. ‘Bob’ Burns, MC, ex-Liverpool Scottish, ex-QOCH, ex-Bermuda Militia Artillery, ex-Bermuda Regiment, my immediate superior in the department. He was buried, of course, at Devonshire church (the service being held in the new church). Quite a large funeral, with a firing party and buglers, as I recollect, from the Bermuda Regiment. The first obituary is in error….I’m sure Col. Robert Brownlow-Tucker (ex-BVRC, ex-Lincolns, ex-Chindits, ex-BMA, ex-Bermuda Regiment) was, I’m sure, the last CO of the BMA, and was certainly the first CO of the Bermuda Regiment. Col Marsh suceeded him.

    • Almost 2 years ago exactly, I published this blog page to commemorate a great soldier, for whom hitherto to my knowledge, no one had taken the bother to electronically record his meritorious SAS history and the derring do of his WW2 exploits. It was made possible only with the information and SAS photos supplied by Johan Wiegman, and many private photographs of soldiers of “A” Company 1DCLI, including my own memorabilia from 1954 when Major Marsh took command of the Company from Major ‘Toots’ Williams.

      Several (many many emails and snailmails – I’ll not embarass the addressees by numbering ’em) to the Maritime Museum and the Marsh Family – initially bore little fruit, in fact I was ignored totally and I consequently made the point (on this blog page AND in private emails) that original 1DCLI photographs, circa 1954 – 1957, were as much the ‘historical property’ of 1DCLI’ians, as they were the Bermuda MM, and history demanded their public viewing, which I understood then, to not have happened, some considerable number of years after they were gifted on behalf of Mrs Marsh.

      In fact, as discovered, the gifting of those photographs was a mistaken attempt (in later years) by an Old Soldier from “A” Company, to have the unique 1DCLI Memorabilia displayed to the public. In hindsight and in my opinion, those photos should have been gifted to the DCLI Museum in Bodmin at that time, but Mrs Marsh apparently was unaware of possible Regimental interests or uninformed by (then) local Bermuda interests.

      If my remarks of 2 years ago raise objections now, then I apologise, but I fail to see the significance of photos taken in 1954-1957 and uniquely 1DCLI have any bearing on Major Marsh’s later career, or his work colleagues after his sojourn at Prospect Garrison.

      So far as the gravesite was concerned, (that attached URL has been removed in line with page policy) myself in Australia and former 1DCLI Mates in Cornwall were incensed to learn that the headstone and plaque was poorly maintained, (we have the photos to prove that) and copious correspondence was written to the Parish of Devonshire and the Bishop of Bermuda AND the CO of the Bermuda Regiment, to have the matter rectified. This was eventually done by the dispatch of a squad of local soldiers with brushes and scrapers.

      Further, your above medals comment is informative to me, in that apparently Major Marsh’s wartime medals rest in the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Have I got that right? This is the first time that I have been so informed and I thank you. However IMHO, those medals rightfully belong in the SAS and Light Infantry Museums. Major Marsh had an illustrious career in the British Army, and some 3 only years in Bermuda (as a British Soldier), so the benefactor of the medals – bought at auction some considerable time after the publication of my alleged denigration of the Bermuda MM, clearly has Bermuda’s military interests at heart.

  4. Editor in Brisbane says:


    We are indebted to Johan Wiegman of The Netherlands in supplying the fresh header coloured photo of Lt Tony Marsh SAS (undated). Johan has taken the trouble to arrange the restoration in colour of this early photo. Thank you Johan, a fitting, page opening photo tribute to our former Commanding Officer “A” Company, Prospect Garrison Bermuda 1954-1957

  5. Sloop JB says:


    Thank you for drawing my attention to this particular item, sad as it may seem, but I don’t think that much money could have been raised by the Museum to bring his affects home. It was also interesting visiting the Bermuda paper, seeing the write up of the DCLI visitation there, salutations to A Coy on their all round behaviour, keeping the DCLI reputation in high esteem.

  6. Editor in Brisbane says:


    Hereto is a hotlink to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda showing a relevant article on the above Auction on 9th December.

    Keith Forbes, our associate Webmaster of bermuda-online has followed the incident closely and kept me informed.

    Thank you Keith. No doubt you will form your own opinion on our views, based on Comments in my ‘Old Grumpy’s’ Blog, dated from about November 22nd when the matter first came to my attention.


    A Military Historian with close connections to the SAS has advised the Editor of the above Event scheduled for 1100 hrs December 9th 2009 at The Court House, Warwick. By Warwick & Warwick, Auctioneers.

    Following are extracts from the Auctioneer Brochure:

    The group is being sold on behalf of the family and has never before been on the market. The full medal details are WWII Distinguished Service Order, OBE (Military), 1939-1945, Africa (8th Army clasp), Italy, France and Germany stars, Defence Medal, BWM (MID oakleaf loose) and KGVI FID DEF Territorial Efficiency Medal to Lt Col John Anthony Marsh S.A.S, D.C.L.I. and Bermuda Regiment (Capt J.A. Marsh D.S.O. D.C.L.I. on Efficiency).

    Sold with a wealth of original photos, documents, newspapers etc in a large album including DSO bestowal document, Investiture letter and pass with photo outside the Palace, Lieutenant Commission Warrant in DCLI dated 18th January 1946, 2 MID certificates with envelope of transmission, 1st SAS certificate for service from 8th August 1942 to 16th November 1945, 1939 Artists Rifles pass, SAS Regimental Association Pass number 1377, range of SAS passes, unofficial dog tag, printed programmes for 1945 Chelmsford SAS Farewell Dance, 1947 SAS re-union, 1953 SAS church service, superb range of 117 photos mainly SAS in North Africa, Lebanon and Europe many previously unpublished, also with VIPs in Bermuda, several with medals, newspaper articles etc. A second album of photos, newspaper cuttings, telegrams and score cards all for the Bisley 100 in 1938. Shooting Medals with Country Life 1936 to Cpl J.A. Marsh University College School, Class B 3rd, 1938 U/Officer Class B 2nd, 1936 Miniature Rifle Assoc 1936 Junior Winter Competition Major Section. Large range of buttons and badges including SAS cloth cap badge, wings, 1st SAS shoulder title, NRA 1938 Bisley blazer badge, 1939 Territorial Inter Services XX Reserve cloth badge, matching ribbon bar (less OBE), button compass, golf ball size night map reader, DCLI badges (4), buttons (21), BMA cap badge (2), shoulder titles (4), cap badge, buttons (30), Bermuda Regt buttons and badges (28) etc etc, a rarely seen supporting range of documents, photos and accessories, must be viewed to appreciate.

    The medals photo can be viewed above at the page header section. Follow the thread of reader opinion in the Old Grumpy blog page Comments.

  8. JT says:

    Definitely police not Bermuda Rifles.

    • JT says:

      Above relates to question of group in which were Maj Marsh and Sgt Carling.

      ED: Yeah, got that JT – agreed. Now that I take a closer look, definitely the Hamilton Fuzz!

  9. JT says:


    Is he wearing a sash?

    ED: Yes and definitely 2 stripes. Keith Mannings can’t identify him. When I think about my earlier remarks – why would the CO’s driver be invited into a GH photo? – doesn’t gell with me now. Probably a junior ADC in the making.

    I note also that the tallest bloke rhs at view, is wearing a DCLI Regimental tie. Who him?

    • JT says:

      Puzzled. I didn’t know Cpls wore the sash only Sgts.

      ED: Have checked with Barry, this character is unknown to him also.

  10. JT says:


    In the picture of the party at Gov house it looks like Charlie Seabourne on the back row.

    ED: Thanks JT, but definitely not Charlie. I’m looking at the original under a mag glass. The soldier in whites is a Corporal and probably the CO’s driver.

    PS: Check out the Picasa Album. Were you there?

  11. Editor says:


    As I type, I am currently uploading a series of 15 photos that Keith Mannings has arranged to have copied from originals in the Maritime Museum, Bermuda. Keith himself donated these photos to the MM on behalf of Priscilla Marsh in 1987 and it has been only during Keith’s recent visit to Bermuda, that permission was negotiated to release copies.

    Readers will be aware that many previous attempts were made to recover these photos. Success at last! Some of the photos from the Editor’s collections are already published on this site and on the “A” Company websites; also on the Fraser Pakes Memoirs. However, take a closer look at these versions which might be a better rendition.

    Note too, that Keith has obtained additional photo memorabilia from the Bermuda Government Archives, for the HRH Princess Margaret visit in (March) 1955, at some personal financial expense. Again, some of these photos are repeats of others shown elsewhere.

    The HRH Princess Margaret collection will be collated into a Picasa Album and published on this site and also on the “Old Mates Picasa Albums (Military)” blog page under an acknowledgement to Keith Mannings.

    Thanks Keith for your splendid achievements, we are all indebted to you for these fine additions to DCLI Regimental history.

  12. Editor says:


    I have been contacted today by a Military Historian in Eire, who is compiling a Directory of Graves (and Insignia) of British & Commonwealth military graves in Bermuda. Our former C.O. (Major “A” Coy, 1DCLI) Lt. Col AJ Marsh is buried in Devonshire Church, where the plaque bears the acronym A.M.L.A.

    Subsequent searches reveal little of substance, so maybe someone is better informed than Google etc. Please contact me if you can assist.

  13. Editor says:


    We are in receipt of more Marsh Family Memorabilia, from Will Marsh grandson, on behalf of his father Simon. Some pix are repeats of existing photos shown elsewhere, but others are previously unsighted.

    Additionally the primary MON news clip of HRH Princess Margaret is a better version of the earlier one and has doctored up quite well, but the original is still required – please.

    Our thanks again to Will and Simon – the history is unfolding.

  14. Editor says:


    As acknowledged, we are in receipt of a fresh batch of Marsh photo memorabilia, some unsighted previously, others in better condition than published on the “A” Company website. They are being uploaded now.

    I also await more Princess Margaret Honour Guard photos (March 1955) that have been recovered by Keith Mannings from the Maritime Museum this month, during his visit there.

    Regarding the “Bermuda Rifles – Bermuda Police” photo with the Major and Sgnt Carling, I now believe we are viewing an Internal Securities Liaison Group photo, where Carling probably was the Liaison Officer with the Military and the Police.

    Thank you for your support.

  15. Will Marsh says:


    Have been through family boxes, and have some DCLI photos 1954 -1957 taken in Bermuda. That might be of interest to you.

    Please contact me if you’re interested and I will email them to you.


    ED: Thank you Will. Email contact on the way.

  16. Editor says:


    We announce with thanks the receipt of additional photographic and text memorabilia from Caroline, the niece of Tony Marsh. We have elected to publish those photos not so far seen, although others forwarded by Caroline are in fact already published elsewhere on the “A” Company websites. More are to follow.

  17. If you buy my book, Stirling’s Men, (see amazon), which is about the SAS in WW2, you’ll find a lot of anecdotes about Tony Marsh. He was a greatly respected and highly efficient officer.

    ED: Thanks Gavin, does that mean that you will grant permission to quote your book verbatim on selected passages?

  18. Caroline Goss says:

    I am Major Tony Marsh’s niece and my Mother, who is his sister has a lot of photographs and memorabilia which might be of interest to you. I have also tried to get in touch with my cousin Simon Marsh without sucess! Please let me know and I will send them to you.

    • Barry Cornish says:


      It is really good to hear from you. Yes please, we would all be really interested in any photographs or memorabilia that you can offer.

      Derek Lovemore, who has edited these web sites is at present on his way over to the UK, from Australia, for our reunion and I am certain that he will be in contact with you as soon as possible.


      Thank you Caroline. We shall be most appreciative to receive any Marsh Memorabilia that you have. As advised I am now in the UK and have regular computer access and shall email you directly to your captured email.

  19. Swanny Swanson says:

    Hi Derek. Now been looking for Dave Besley’s address which Bro. Denys Gass the chap I mentioned who lived near Dave, (this is several years ago) gave me this address and phone No. in the late 70s -early 80s, D.O. Besley, Brookside, Southwick Rd, Watchfield. Somerset.

    This was the phone number he wrote down for me at that time, 0278-788444. I rang that no today but not the right no, the code could be changed? We havn’t got the nos for Somerset in our phone directory. Perhaps you could find out when you come to the Bristol Area when you come in June.

  20. Swanny Swanson says:

    Ed. Funny you should have said about Dave Besley wearing your clothes! He was forever borrowing my gear, you will see in some pics of our time on Ports Island he was wearing a shirt of mine! He wore it more than I did, being young and naive again!

    He told me the story how he joined us in the Dukes was after the Korean war he was posted to Germany and was sent to UK as his wife was having a baby in some problem with the birth and after that was sent to Bermuda. I have never seen him since, but when I was in my Buffs Lodge some years ago we had a visitor from Somerset, on talking I asked were he lived, and blow me he lived in the same street as Dave, Mark Causeway, nr Bridgewater, he gave me his address but I never got around to communicate with him.

    ED: Swanny, any chance of checking out the Bridgewater Phone Directory and giving him a hoy? He’d be really chuffed after all this time! Griff, Jenny and myself are spending a few days at Brean after the Penzance Re-Union and I could always chase him up, even if it’s too late to get him to the Re-Union.

  21. Swanny Swanson says:

    ED. I will always remember Maj Marsh. My close mate Cpl Dave Besley charged me with not doing my room duties as per roster (not cleaning light shades) and Maj Marsh gave me 3 days CB Jankers, only time I didn’t get away with a charge! Jan Passmore couldn’t help me on this one! Again YOUNG AND NAIVE. I think someone had a word in Maj Marsh’s ear! He like Maj TOOTS a perfect gentleman.

    ED: Swanny. Good job that Besley was a mate. Think of what you might have been up for if he wasn’t too keen on you! Anyway – which light shades, don’t remember ’em, thought we just had bare bulbs and only 40 watts at that! After you left for demob, I was shifted to 4 Platoon and slung a lead with socket over the rafters with a 100 watt bulb, the billet was so poorly lit.

    But mentioning Besley, he had access to the 3 Platoon Weapons Store, where I slept and one night when we were all on the town, we bumped into Besley, resplendent in my slacks and shirt that he’d knocked off from my kit. Not a bad bloke though!

  22. Swanny Swanson says:

    ED. Thanks for your response. I sent an email to Tristan Rutter a short time ago and again got no reply. I think that business about scattering Lt Rutter’s ashes in Cornwall was forgot about! I like you thought for sure Tristan would get involved even it was only emails.

    Well Derek as you mentioned we are the blog members who really enjoy our letters etc, you can’t buy friendship, it belongs to only the few of us, as said I for one am really excited about our Re-Union and not long now till D DAY!

    ED: Well put ‘Ole son. Get the pasties ready!

  23. Swanny Swanson says:

    ED. Keith Mannings met up with Major Marsh’s widow some years ago and she gave Keith some papers etc when he was on holiday in Bermuda. Don’t know whether or not they are same ones you put on this Blogsite, as we all on blog will know, Keith tried to contact their son Simon but without success.

    As you know Derek I was in contact with Lt John Rutters son Tristran in Canada, have mailed him several times without success! Keith is off to Bermuda in July and is going to try to shed some more light on the subject going to the registry office in Hamilton.

    ED: Swanny, The material published here is sourced from Johan Wiegman in the Netherlands, who is a Military Historian and has had contact with Simon Marsh some years ago – but – like many of us (including Keith Mannings) has lost contact. Keith Mannings evidently was involved some years ago while in Bermuda, on behalf of Priscilla Marsh, with gifting Marsh Memorabilia to The Bermuda Martime Museum, where it rots away, far from the view of 1DCLI enthusiasts, like you and I. Said BMM refuses to respond to my many ministrations to release the material for our use, which I have argued is our entitlement. I am extremely irked over this – pissed off – if you really want the true feeling. Anything that Keith can do to rectify this travesty will only be helpful. (Then) Major AJ Marsh, SAS, DCLI, DSO as our C.O. is deserving of greater honours than having his memory shovelled away in some tin pot museum. (I shall be more than happy to eat my words if in fact the BMM has featured our Boss in a suitable manner. He did much for the Bermudian Martime interests; that being the case why not spread the word and at least advise us)?

    You’ll note the accreditations that I have carefully written in that – so far – the Obituaries and Citations are from SAS and Light Infantry Regimental sources, the shoulder flashes are the property of Johan. The WW2 photos have been acquired by Johan and the Prospect Garrison photos are from the few of us (You, Barry, Terry, Fraser and I) serving N/S soldiers who have shown sufficient enthusiasm to GOYA and make an effort.

    If it were not for the likes of you, my ‘Ole Mate and our few close DCLI Mates, “A” Company would fade away. We live now in cyberspace, where a simple flick of the wrist and some common sense opens a plethora of Memories. There’ll be some bollocking for sure, when I get to Penzance!

    Why the gleaning of memorabilia from supposed interested sources for gallant Old Soldiers is so difficult, from familes especially, remains a mystery to me as an editor and publisher. I hope that the Marsh Family survivors read this and accept that the Major ‘belonged’ to us also, at least for that short span of time that we served under him. Non military people have little or no appreciation of the meaning of loyalty, regimental pride or simple pleasure in having a professional soldier in charge. One day they’ll wake up and realise that time ebbs like the tide and memories that are not emboldened in print, will fade away. One has only to read the BLI Guestbooks to ponder on the futility of trying to recover memories from just a few years ago.

    PS: While I’m having a bitching session about lethargy and disinterest and plain fucking laziness, it should be noted that it was only AFTER the the joint efforts of Keith Forbes (bermuda-online webmaster), Bill Griffiths and myself, in appealing the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, that 1KSLI Boss 1955 – Lt Col Cuthbert Brooke-Smith’s name (KIA) was added to the National Memorial in the UK. So much for his so-called fellow Officers and ‘other’ expected close interests, his grave lies unattended in Nairobi and his noble military record left unseen. At least we of 1DCLI can ferret out other LI interests and do something about it!


      Tristan promised me emails of some of John’s photos for publication, when we were exchanging comments just after John’s death – well over a year ago. The last I heard was that the Family were visiting Cornwall last May to rest the ashes. Since then naught!

      It’s highly likely – but I’m guessing – that John’s photo memorabilia would include many records of the Officer’s Mess functions at Prospect Barracks and indeed many official functions that he attended with Major Marsh. One needs to ponder on the question as to what good do old photos serve, if they are locked away in a drawer somewhere, and mean bugger all to survivors down the line, who weren’t there. We have a marvellous opportunity with the websites and blog pages to show how much history is there for all to view and comment.

      But as Sir Thomas Beecham of the London Philharmonic is once quoted to have said to the female bass fiddle player, who was having a bad day “Madam, you have a wonderful instrument between your legs, yet all you do is scratch it”

  24. Jack Madron says:

    Never met the MAN but would have been honoured to have served with someone like him.

  25. Swanny Swanson says:

    ED. How fortunate we in A Coy were to have such a Coy Commander in Maj A J Marsh who after serving under Maj. (Toots) Williams we thought would be a hard act to follow. This was done by excellent leadership from one to the other. I feel so proud to have served under so many Officers in my military service, TA etc, that our two Coy Commanders were as good if not better than any officers I had the privilege to serve under and I like many others served under countless Officers in the TA and RMR.

    • Barry Cornish says:

      As Major Marsh’s driver, in Bermuda, I often had to be out of Barracks, taking him to meetings or dinners at Government House, The Mid-Ocean Club, The Bermudiana and the Princess Hotel etc. This would mean that I would be unable to get to the cookhouse for a meal. On these occasions, Major Marsh usually arranged for me to have a meal at the venue. If that were not possible, he would then invite me to eat with him and Mrs. Marsh, at their house, when we returned. In particular, I remember that Mrs. Marsh cooked excellent Spanish omlettes.

      This minor insight into his interest in the welfare of all of his men is one reason why we really respected him and would gladly have followed him to the proverbial ‘ends of the earth’.

      He was a real gentleman, who had a lively sense of humour and I always considered it to be a real privilege to be in his company.


    Without question, we of ‘A’ Company, 1DCLI, Prospect Barracks Bermuda 1954-1957 will speak of our former Commanding Officer, Major AJ (Tony) Marsh DSO, later Lt. Colonel C.O. of The Bermuda Regiment, during the many soirees and get togethers during our forthcoming Re-Union in June.

    The Editor is privileged to transpose the Obituaries and Citations for our leader who died suddenly in Bermuda in 1984, yet is well remembered and revered as an exemplary soldier, gentleman and a fine CO.

    Please add your comments, anecdotes and forward any photos that you might have.


      I have today written a snailmail to an address for Simon Marsh in Horley, Surrey, England. This is the latest attempt to contact the Marsh Family with the view to add to the growing collection of historical material that we have to hand.

      As always, there is an outstanding call to anyone who knew the Major to forward photographic and anecdotal information. It will be gratefully accepted and published on this site in honour of our former Boss.

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