Born: 1895, Ipswich.

Died on or since: 26th August 1914; age 20; KiA – Battle of Cateau.

In October 1914, Mrs. Mary Ann Neeve, of 1, Cobden Place, received notification that her son Alfred was posted as Missing. Mrs. Neeve had three other sons serving in the Suffolks, one of them being a Corporal.

In December 1915, Mrs. Mary Ann Neeve, of 1, Cobden Place, received notification that her son, Private Alfred Marsh, who had been missing since the Battle of Cateau in August 1914, is now posted as dead. Mrs. Neeve has three other sons who are soldiers – two are still fighting for their country, and the other has been disabled and is unfit for further service.

Enlistment Location: Ipswich.

Date of Entry Therein: 15th August 1914.


Rank: Private; Service Number: 8712

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion.


Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1914 Star + Clasp.


Grave Reference:

III. A. Headstone 11.

Le Cateau Communal Cemetery,




Relatives Notified and Address: Son of Mary Ann Neeve (formerly Marsh) and Jesse Neeve (stepfather), of 1, Cobden Place, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.




1901   1, Cobden Place, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Alfred was 6 years old and living with his mother & stepfather, siblings & stepbrothers.

Jesse Neeve, 32, a Maltster; born Dennington, Suffolk.

Mary Ann Neeve, 39, a Tailoress at home; born Ipswich.

Charles Marsh, 13, a Boot & Shoemaker’s Boy, born Ipswich.

Lily Marsh, 10, born Ipswich.

Harry Marsh, 8, born Ipswich.

Frederick William Neeve, 3, born Ipswich.

George Neeve, 1, born Ipswich.


1911   78, Balby Street, Denaby, Yorkshire.

Alfred was 16 years old, a Pony Driver in the pit. He was a boarder to John McGowan a Coal Miner Dateller.


Alfred’s father was James Davey Marsh, born 1860, Ipswich, a Labourer at the docks.


Soldiers’ Effects to Mary Ann Neeve – mother, James, Harry & Charles – brothers, Mary, Ellen & Lily – sisters, Frederick & George – stepbrothers, and Ethel & Gertrude – stepsisters.


Alfred is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Margaret’s Church, Ipswich.





Evening Star – Monday, 25th June 1906 –


At Ipswich Police Court, on Monday, 25th June 1906, three little boys named Albert Dalton, 13, Alfred Marsh, 12, and Frank Cotteral, 8, of Finchley Road, Cobden Place, and Cobbold Street respectively, were before the Deputy Mayor John Henry Grimwade, Esq., George Francis Josselyn, Esq., and Roderick Donald Fraser, Esq., charged with stealing a quantity of sweets – value 1s., the property of Mr. Arthur Edward Stubbings, Ipswich. Mr. Stubbings stated that he was in charge of his father’s confectionary works in Woodbridge Road. Last Wednesday, 21st June he was sent for from the Police Station, where he recognised some sweets as belonging to his father. One of the defendants Albert Dalton, went to Mr. Stubbings on the Wednesday and told him that the other two defendants enticed him to take sweets.

A boy named William Cooke said he was in Christchurch Park last Wednesday evening, and on his way home met the defendants. Alfred Marsh and Frank Cotteral asked him to go down with them to Mr. Stubbings to get some sweets. They went up tp the works in Woodbridge Road, and the three boys got underneath the gate and went up the yard, leaving William Cooke to watch outside the entrance. They were away for about ten minutes and returned with some pieces of rock. All three defendants pleaded Guilty.

Police-constable Hardy testified to seeing the witness William Cooke watching outside the gates of the works in Woodbridge Road on Wednesday night and noticed the defendants crawling from beneath the gates. Suspecting that they had been up to some mischief, he took them to the Police Station and on searching them found the sweets in question.

Albert Dalton and Alfred Marsh were ordered to receive eight strokes of the birch rod and Frank Cotteral was let off with a caution.



On this date, the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment is called into action at the Battle of Le Cateau

The British army was at retreat but at Le Cateau it was decided to make a stand. For many troops exhausted from their march from Le Harve followed by the battle and retreat from Mons orders were given to dig in, heavy guns brought forward in an almost Napoleonic stand against the advancing Germans.

The 2nd Battalion left Dublin on the 13th of August landing in Le Harve on the 17th and being transported by train to Le Cateau on the 18th The weather was hot and still and marched 8 miles to Landrecies from there they marched north to Belgium, a further 17 miles arriving at Mons on the 23rd of August by the 24th the British army was retiring back to France the 2nd Battalion fell back to Hamin then to St.Waast by the 26th they were back to the outskirts of Le Cateau. Extracts of an officer’s letter posted in the Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury newspaper published in December painted the scene of the battle.

3rd October, 1914


Well as far as I can give you what I actually saw, etc. I have enclosed a rough plan of the Brigades in position at Le Cateau on the 26th of August. The Battalion (2nd Suffolk) arrived at about 7 p.m. on the 25th August and bivouacked at the barn, shown at the top of the plan, and made themselves comfortable for the night, although the Germans were following close on the heels. The remainder of the Brigade was fairly close at hand.

On the 26th the Suffolks had breakfast at 3. am, and fell in at 4 a.m. to take up their allotted positions, which were about half a mile to their rear. Two of the Battalions (nos.3 and 4) of the Brigade were to occupy the trenches which had already been prepared for them, and the Suffolks (No.1 Battalion) and the 4th Battalion of the Brigade were placed in reserve. Afterwards, the Suffolks were moved out in front of the battery and No.4 Battalion to the right to protect the guns. The Suffolks had barely taken up their position and commenced to use the web equipment entrenching tool when the Germans opened fire on the battery and dropped a shell right among them. The fight developed and the regiment hung on protecting the guns but had to put up with a good deal of shelling intended for the Battery. They also came in for a good deal of enfilading fire from the German guns. This went on for several hours. It was difficult to feed the firing line with ammunition, especially when the German infantry drew near. Our infantry and maxim guns mowed them down, but still, they pushed on, and for a time they recoiled and then came on again. The Battery at one time was firing at them at about 800 yards range and I am afraid some of our men, especially of C Company (Captain Orford) got hit with his own shells. Nothing could show itself in the open without drawing a terrible and from the enemy. The first line of transport was ordered to retire and get away the best way it could. The Batteries and the Infantry Brigade stuck to their positions. They continued the fire, hoping to be reinforced, as General Sir Charles Fergusson had given out that 40,000 French troops were expected. Eventually, the order to retire was given but the old Suffolks had little ammunition left and the casualties were enormous; very few men were able to retire. In the early part of the fight 50 wounded Suffolks were carried to the dressing station (but I do not know their names) and to the field hospital. These together with the other wounded were shown as “missing” with the exception of Col. Brett, who was killed early in the fight by a shell.

“I don’t know how the Division got away, we were practically surrounded, waiting for the French troops. Evidently, the Germans had a very bad time, or they would have cut off our few guns and our superior rifle fire played havoc with them. I really believe that it was the 108 Heavy Battery that saved the situation and covered our retirement.

In the infantry Brigade, two of the battalions lost their first line of transport. The Suffolks just manage to save theirs, thanks to the Transport officer (Lieut. Oakes) and Sergt. Major Burton. I was with the supply and baggage train in the village when I was not watching the fight. When I mustered the Battalion the following was the strength three officers including Capt. Phelan R.A.M.C (medical officer) Lieut. Oakes (transport Officer) and 217 men. We kept our place in the Brigade, having been re-enforced from home by Special Reserve officers and men. We are now attached to General Headquarters Army Troop (General French) for a short time. Captain Hausberg is in command of us at present, but Leut-Col. Clifford is expected soon. I am glad to say I am in very good health but have had a very hard time of it. The Suffolks are very fit and keen, but a rest from the trenches they have recently vacated will be good.”

Ipswich men who died from the 2nd Battalion 26th August 1914:

Alfred Marsh

Private. Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion age 20

Jeremiah George Podd

Private Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion age 25

William James Roper

Private Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion age 28

William Teager

Private Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion age 30

Wallace Michael Bristo

Private Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion age 30

George Sparkes

Private Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion age 31

It is believed the Suffolk Regiment the 2nd Battalion recorded 720 casualties killed wounded and missing. 40,000 British troops fort in the battle 7,812 British casualties 2,600 taken prisoner German losses were estimated at 2,900. At this time trench warfare was in its infancy, trenches were shallow scrapes in the ground with little protection from bursting shrapnel shells as the months moved on more time was taken in the preparation of the trenches and at this point, steel helmets were not issued throughout the British army.

Suffolk Regiment Battalion movements

Friends of The Suffolk Regiment



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