1914 - 2023

The Marston Lads

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Clarence Musgrave

Died 21st September 1915

Aged 21

The 8th (Service) Battalion
The Cheshire Regiment

51 Ollershaw Lane
Clarence Musgrave, like many from the area, worked at the nearby Salt Works and was a Wagon Builder/Repairer. His father Albert also worked at the Salt Works as a Clerk. 

Clarence was another Marston Lad that joined the Cheshire Regiment, signing up at Chester on the 1st September 1914 and at the outbreak of the war. Clarence was part of the first British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and rushed into service to help stop the expected German advance into France and Belgium.

When Clarence signed his papers, he gave his age at 22 years and five months, when Clarence was in fact aged between 19 and 20 years of age. The 1911 census shows his age as 17 years at that point.
This raises an interesting point, why did he add two years to his age?

At the outbreak of the war the general minimum age was 18 years, but only with a parent or guardians permission. You needed to be 21 years or older to sign up yourself. Clarence's war records show him signing the papers aided with a simple witness's signature to make it official, and that witness could be anyone.
Given The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records state he died aged 21, does support the fact Clarence, or the Recruitment Officer, added two years to his age which allowed Clarence to sign up without his parent's consent. Clarence was never married.

We must also consider the heavy recruitment campaign the Government was running at the time Clarence joined the Army. Huge peer pressure, and the fact it was said 'It will be all over by Christmas' just added to the excitement and romance of going abroad, maybe, or maybe not with his parent's approval. He was the only son living with his parents at that time and you can hardly blame the parents if they resisted Clarence joining the Army.
The Cheshire Regiment
British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1914

On the 30th August 1915, less than a year later, Clarence was taken to Anzac Hospital in Egypt suffering from Enteric, the medical term for Trench Fever. On the 21st September 1915, Clarence lost his fight for life and passed away.

Clarence was buried in Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery Eqypt along with 2693 other soldiers. A long way from home.

Download and view Clarence Musgrave Commonwealth War Graves Certificate

Left: Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

Tony Hayes