5893 Private Fredrick William Marquis, 28th Battalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force died of wounds 4 September 1918 and is buried at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France.[1]  He was 21 years old and is commemorated on the Hamsterley War Memorial, the Katanning War Memorial, the Roll of Honour, Katanning Town Hall, the Perth War Memorial, Western Australia and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Frederick William’s brother, 3128A Private John Joseph Marquis, 28th Battalion, A.I.F. was killed in action 1 June 1918 and is buried at Franvillers Communal Cemetery extension, Somme, France.[2]

Family Details

Frederick William was born 20 October 1896 at Hamsterley, County Durham the son of Henry and Eleanor Marquis.  There were 10 children: [3]

  • James Randolph born 31 November 1886 at Skelton, North Yorkshire
  • Thomas 1887-1889
  • Margaret Ann born 15 February 1889 at Newcastle
  • Arthur Cecil born 19 January 1891 at Newcastle
  • John Joseph born 10 November 1893 at Newcastle
  • Mary born 3 August 1894 at Hamsterley, County Durham
  • Jane born 3 August 1894 at Hamsterley
  • Frederick William born 20 October 1896 at Hamsterley
  • Edward Baden born 2 February 1900 at Hamsterley
  • Eleanor Isabella born 1903 at Hamsterley

In 1901 the family lived at Hamsterley where 43 years old Henry was a grocer/tea dealer (own account).[4]  In 1909, the family emigrated to Australia on a passage through London to Freemantle, Western Australia.[5]  Henry was 51 years old at the time and Eleanor, 45.  In 1910, they took up land at Datatine in the Shire of Dumbleyung, Western Australia.  The farm was called “Hoppland Park” presumably after the similarly names historic grounds near Hamsterley, Co. Durham.[6]

 Military Details

 20 June 1916: Frederick William Marquis attested aged 19 years 7 months.  He was formerly employed as a farm hand and his address was given as Warren Road, Katanning.  He was 5’8½” tall and weighed 10st.  He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.  20 June 1916, he undertook a medical examination and was considered fit for active service. 22 June 1916, he was enlisted into the Australian Infantry, the Australian Imperial Force and given the regimental number 5893.[7]

10 October 1916:  Private F.W. Marquis embarked at Feemantle, WA and arrived at Plymouth, England 20 December 1916.

28 December 1916:  he left for France via Folkstone arriving at Etaples 29 December 1916.  He joined the 20th Battalion 27 January 1917.  By June 1917, he was posted to the 28th Battalion.

The 28th Battalion AIF (Western Australia): a summary

The 28th Battalion AIF (Western Australia) was raised in April 1915 and took recruits from Western Australia.  The Battalion departed Freemantle for service overseas 29 June 1915 and after 2 months spent in Egypt training, landed at Gallipoli 10 September 1915.  It was part of the 7th Brigade, 2nd Division of the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.).  The 28th had a relatively quiet time at Gallipoli and the battalion departed the peninsula in December, having suffered only light casualties.  During the course of the war 22 draft reinforcements sailed from Freemantle to join the battalion.

After another stint in Egypt, the 7th Brigade proceeded to France and the Western Front, as part of the 2nd Australian Division. The 28th Battalion took part in its first major battle at Pozieres between 28 July and 6 August 1916. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division returned to the south in October, where the 28th Battalion took part in confused and costly fighting to the east of Flers, in the Somme Valley.

For many of the major battles of 1917 the 28th found itself in supporting roles. At the Second Battle of Bullecourt, the 28th provided reinforcements who were nonetheless involved in heavy fighting. The 28th was involved at the Third Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Menin Road and was in reserve during the capture of Broodseinde Ridge. The battalion was also in reserve for the battle of Poelcappelle on 9 October but with the attack floundering in mud, it soon became embroiled in the fighting.

In April 1918, the 28th fought to turn back the German spring offensive and 8 August participated in the joint British and French offensive that marked the beginning of Germany’s defeat. The Battalion was prominent in the fighting to secure crossing points over the Somme River around Peronne, and in the advance beyond Mont St. Quentin.  The 28th’s last actions of the war were fought as part of the effort to break through the Beaurevoir Line in the first week of October 1918. The first members of the battalion began returning to Australia in January, and the 28th was disbanded in March 1919.

 7 June 1917: Private F.W. Marquis suffered with trench fever and was treated at 55th Casualty Clearing Station then No.1 Australian General Hospital at Rouen from 17 June 1917.

13 September 1917:  He was back to base at Buchy

9 – 27 February 1918:  He was granted leave to England

22 May 1918: he suffered from influenza being treated at 22nd General Hospital and a convalescence depot at Camiers before being transferred to the Australian Central Depot at Cayeux then his base depot at Havre, proceeding to join his unit 13 July 1918.

17 July 1918:  Private F.W. Marquis re-joined the 28th Battalion.

The Second Battle of the Somme 1918 – an overview [8]

The Second Battle of the Somme was fought on the Western Front from the end of the summer, in the basin of the Somme River. It was a counter-offensive in response to the spring German Offensive.  The significant feature of these battles was that what began as overwhelming German gains ended in the defeat for the Germans.

Haig refused demands from Foch to continue the Amiens offensive and instead began to plan for another offensive at Albert.  The main attack was launched by the British Third Army, with the United States II Corps attached.  The battle began on

21 August:  the battle began wiith the opening of the Battle of Bapaume to the north of the river Somme and it developed into an advance which pushed the German Second Army back over a 55 kilometre front, from south of Douai to La Fere, south of St Quintin, Aisne.

22 August: Albert was captured

29 August: Bapaume fell

31August/1 September:  The Australian Corps crossed the Somme River on the night of August 31 and broke the German lines at Mont St. Quintin.

2 September: morning, the Canadians seized control of the Drocourt-Queant line and by noon that day Ludendorff decided to withdraw to a position behind the Canal du Nord. The British Fourth Army’s commander, General Henry Rawlinson, described the Australian advances of August 31-September 4 as the greatest military achievement of the war.

2 September:  the Germans had been forced back to the Hindenburg Line – the position from which they had launched their offensive in the spring.

Second Battle of Bapaume, 21 August – 3 September 1918 [9]

The first phase of the battle had seen the British Fourth Army push the Germans back ten miles, from the tip of the Amiens salient back to the front line they held before the first Battle of the Somme (1916).  The allied commander-in-chief, Ferdinand Foch, wanted the Fourth Army to launch immediate attack on this line, with the aim of pushing the Germans back to the Somme.  Haig believed that the new German position was too strong to attack without careful preparation. The old Somme battlefield had been fought over in 1916, deliberately devastated by the Germans in1917 and then fought over again in 1918 – it was not well suited to tank warfare. It would need heavy artillery bombardment to destroy the wire and it would take time to move the artillery forward.  Haig preferred to launch a new offensive further north, using the Third Army (General Byng), supported by 100 tanks, to attack the German Seventeen Army (Marwitz) across more suitable ground. Foch agreed to Haig’s plan but he removed the French First Army from British control. The French launched its own offensive on the same day as the British attack.

11 – 21 August:  Byng’s Third Army was reinforced, while the Canadian Corps moved from the Fourth to the First Army (Horne), on the left of the line.

21 August:  The British attack began on a narrow front with an attack by the Third Army.

22 August:  The Germans responded with a counter-attack which was quickly beaten off.

23 August:  Haig was able to order a general advance by the Third Army and part of the Fourth, on a 33 mile front.

26 August:  the right wing of the First Army joined in, extending the front to 40 miles.  This attack is sometimes designated as the Second Battle of Arras of 1918.  At that point the German line ran along the Somme south from Peronne then across open country to Noyon on the Oise. Ludendorff had ordered a retreat from the Lys salient and what was left of the Amiens salient, with the intention of forming a new line on the Somme.  This plan was disrupted by the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians.

29 August:  the New Zealanders captured Bapaume, east of Amiens, south of Arras, breaking through the Le Transloy-Loupart trench system.

30/31 August:   To the south the 2nd Australian Division captured Mont St. Quintin, on the east bank of the Somme,

1 September:  The Australians captured Peronne itself.

2 September:  Further north the Canadians broke through the Drocourt-Queant switch, a strong section of the German line south east of Arras. With two gaps in the proposed new front line, Ludendorff was forced to retreat back to the Hindenbug line, abandoning all the territory won earlier in 1918.

Mont St. Quentin and Peronne – more detail [10]

The end of August found German troops at their last stronghold of Mont St Quentin – overlooking the Somme River and the town of Peronne. Mont St Quintin stood out in the surrounding country making it a perfect observation point and a vital strategic area to control. This area was key to the German defence of the Somme line. Lieutenant General Sir John Monash was keen to capture it and thus possess a valuable position.   This Australian operation is sometimes regarded as the finest achievement of the AIF.

30 August:  the Australian 3rd Division commenced the attack.  General Monash’s objective was to render the line of the Somme River useless to the Germans as a defensive position and hasten their retreat to the Hindenburg Line. To achieve this called for attack on the key position of the whole line of defence, on a hill called Mont St Quentin. Monash knew that his troops were under strength and badly needed a rest, but by now he considered them “invincible”.

The attack was on the key positions in the German line, a dominating hill known as Mont St Quentin, 1.5 kilometres from Peronne. The hill was less than 100 metres high but heavily guarded especially along the northerly and westerly approaches. The Australian 5th Division objectives were the Peronne Bridges and Peronne, while the Australian 2nd Divisions was the bridgehead at Halle the Mont St. Quentin and finally the Australian 3rd Division was to capture the high ground north east of Clery, then Bouchavesnes spur. Facing the Australian Divisions at Mont St. Quentin was the 2nd Prussian Guards, an elite German formation, who had orders to hold the hill “to the death”.

5am:  The barrage commenced but much of the Australian’s fighting reputation preceded them with the enemy taking panic. The 5th Brigade of the Australian 2nd Division opened the attack, comprising only 70 officers and 1,250 other ranks it was less than one third of its normal strength. The 2nd Division battalions to assault Mont St Quentin were all from N.S.W, the 17th 18th 19th and 20th. The 17th Battalion started along the Clery-Peronne road as the Germans retreated to more defensible ground. Within a short time they had captured their objective, with only 550 men and 220 in support – an objective that British generals considered “impregnable”!  However, the 5th Brigade could not hold all of its gains and part of the 2nd Prussian Guards Division drove back scattered troops from the summit of Mont St. Quentin

On the left of the Australian 2nd Division, the Australian 3rd Division attacked Bouchavesnes Spur but had not captured its objectives.  This meant that earlier gains were threatened by German flanking moves. General Monash ordered that “Casualties no longer mattered!” and “We must get Bouchavesnes Spur and protect Rosenthal’s left”. The spur was taken and the Mont St. Quentin assault was protected.

31 August:  at 5.00am, the 2nd Australian Division crossed the Somme River and attacked Mont St Quentin.  It was a difficult position since it was an uphill fight for the troops across very open ground where they were vulnerable attack from the German-held positions above.  Rifle grenades and trench mortars were employed to outflank outpost positions. The battalions positioned to the right made a lot of noise to distract the Germans, while the centre and left battalions got a foothold on the hill and in Feuillaucourt.  By 7am, the troops by working in small groups gained the village of Mont St Quentin and the slope and summit of the hill. The five German divisions were confused and dispersed, many had fled.

Between 8 August and midnight on 31 August, Montash’s troops had captured 14,500 prisoners and 170 guns.

 1 September:  Allied troops broke through lines at Peronne.   The Germans quickly regrouped and launched a counter-attack.  There was fierce fighting and heavy losses.  The Germans heavily shelled Peronne and much of the fighting was hand-to-hand combat.  The outnumbered Australians were pushed back off the summit of Mont St Quentin and lost Feuillaucourt.  Relief battalions were sent forward and with their reinforcement, all areas were retaken by the Australians but at the cost of 3,000 casualties. After heavy and exhausting fighting, the Australians established a stronghold on the area and forced the complete withdrawal of the Germans from Peronne.  The 6th Australian Brigade, passing through the 5th Brigade seized in a second attempt the summit of Mont St. Quentin while the Australian 14th Brigade (5th Division) captured woods north of Peronne and took the main part of the town.

2 September:  the Australian 7th Brigade (2nd Division) drove beyond the Mont and the Australian 15th Brigade (5th Division) seized the rest of Peronne.

3 September:  the Australians held Peronne.

4 September: Flamicourt was captured and the Australians advanced two miles to the east.

The 28th Battalion War Diary records that: [11]

2 September: at 5.00am the attack commenced and the troops moved forward behind a creeping barrage but were met with a vigorous reply from enemy artillery.  Gas was used by the enemy.  The 29th Battalion reached the high ground east of Mount St. Quentin and at this stage, half of 28th Battalion moved forward to assist 26th Battalion which had received heavy casualties.  Carefully concealed German machine-gun posts held up the attack.  A platoon under Lt. McKee went forward and mopped up the village of Allaines and much of Mount St. Quentin.  Attacking troops reach their objectives according to plan and the rest of the day remained quiet.

3 – 4 September: Lt. Tulley and 14 other ranks were detailed to clear up enemy posts in Antigone Trench.

Casualties for the period 2-4 September:

  • Officers: 2 killed, 3 wounded
  • Other Ranks:  11 killed , 72 wounded

5 September:  5.00am relief was completed by 3/Shropshires, 74th Division attached to the Australian Corps.

Private Frederick William Marquis joined the 28h Battalion in the field 17 July 1918 and was wounded 2 September receiving shrapnel wounds to the face, head and neck.  He was treated by the 6th Australian Field ambulance and the 5th Casualty Clearance Station.  He died of wounds 4 September 1918.  It is likely that he was a casualty of German shelling in the vicinity of Mont St. Quentin.

Private Fredrick William Marquis was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  A Memorial Scroll was issued to his father 23 November 1921.

Monash said of the Mont St Quentin and Peronne campaign that it:

“Furnished the finest example in the war of spirited and successful infantry action conducted by three divisions operating simultaneously side by side.”

The fight had also included battalions from every Australian state. British Commander General Lord Rawlinson remarked that this feat by the Australian troops under Monash’s command was the greatest of the war.  Forced out of Peronne, the Germans had to retreat to their last line of defence, the Hindenburg Line.

 The result was that three weakened Australian Divisions were able to defeat five German Divisions. The action saw its fair share of heroics and losses, eight VC’s and 20% casualties. The battle was a true infantry victory achieved without the use of tanks or creeping artillery barrage.

The 2nd Division incurred heavy losses in this action.


Australian 2nd Division      84 Officers and 1,286 Other Ranks

Australian 3rd Division       43 Officers and 544 Other Ranks

Australian 5th Division       44 Officers and 1,026 Other Ranks

Total……………………….171 Officers and 2856 Other Ranks

Germans: 3,500 casualties and 2,600 prisoners.

Burial [12]

 Private Frederick William Marquis is at grave ref. X.A.20 Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres. He was buried originally at Proyart Communal Cemetery, 7 miles to the south east of Albert. In September 1923, his body was exhumed and reburied at Heath Military Cemetery.  There are 1491 burials.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] CWGC

[3] Family details provided by

[4] 1901 census



[7] Attestation Paper




[11] Australian War Memorial RCDIG1017524: 28th Battalion War Diary September 1918 p.1-5 (Army Form C.2118)

[12] CWGC


MARQUIS F.W. Portrait


MARQUIS F.W. Headstone





Marquis Brothers