Alban Edward Sandover Marshall, Crown St, Brisbane, (12 March 1888 – 26 May 1917)
Alban Edward Sandover Marshall … the relative everyone forgot.
Alban was unknown until I stumbled across him while researching war records for his brother, William James Soper Searle Marshall.
While sifting through WW1 records, for William, another Marshall AES was above his name. My curiosity got the better of me [ another person with more than 2 christian names and has a surname of Marshall], so I opened the record and to my surprise the parents’ names recorded were the same as that of William’s, so the mission to dig up information about this unknown person began. Fernley [only living relative of the next generation] was quizzed about Alban, but he was also in the dark. This sparked curiosity in Fernley who kept asking for more information as he was quite upset that a relative who had given his life was unknown to the Family.
A search was undertaken and his grave was found in the Strand Cemetery, Belgium, so we placed an e-poppy/virtual poppy on it as a mark of respect, as part of this process, our email address was also left on the site. About 18 months later I received an email from a ‘stranger’ wanting to know why I had put the poppy on his relative’s grave. After several e-mails, back and forth it was established that Mark Roberts and I were related through his Mother’s side of the family.
A short time later, after emails flying back and forth, Mark mentioned his pickup – The Box. Mark’s plans, aspirations and timelines, with the grant, were explained. This inspired a weekend trip to Rockhampton to sight the bits and pieces and to start putting the jigsaw together. To be able to see, touch and read his personal effects was an awe-inspiring visit!!
Months later, an invitation to the official launch of “History in A Box” (28.03.2015) arrived. To see the items archived, fill in gaps for the archivist and to have the opportunity of addressing the guests at this function will always remain with me as a special event in my life.
Alban is my great-uncle on my father’s side of the family. His brother, William James Soper Searle Marshall, is my father’s (Edward James Marshall) father. On reflection, it makes me wonder whether my father was named after Alban?
This find led to Bob and I adding an extra leg to our overseas holiday in 2016. We did a 3 day WW1 Battlefields tour and were fortunate that after hearing Alban’s story, the tour guide was only too happy to help, and, as others on the tour also had ‘lost’ relatives’ he deviated slightly, and we were taken to The Strand Cemetery. We located, touched and placed an Australian Flag and a Remembrance Poppy on his last place of rest. What a mixture of emotion all at once – sadness, happiness, pride, joyfulness, contentment, relief, sorrow.
As part of my journey of finding, remembering and commemorating Alban’s life and death, we were fortunate, on that night, to attend The Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ieper, Belgium, which is near the Strand Cemetery. To be able to lay a wreath in his memory at this National Monument was both a surreal and humbling experience but it brought a feeling of closure on Alban’s life.
He will never be forgotten again.
Lest We Forget.