Date of birth: 1872
Date of death: 03.1916
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Charlotte Ann Marley nee Hemingway
Service number: 12/192 (Sapper 82690)
Michael Henry Marley was 41 years old when the First World War started, but on the 9th October 1914 he attested to the Army Reserve. One month later he was mobilised, joining the newly formed 12th (Miners) Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. On 1st March 1915 he was promoted to acting sergeant and transferred to the 1st Provisional Company, Royal Engineers. One week later he had joined the 170th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, which was deployed in France.
On the 12th December 1914 ten small mines driven under the British positions at Givenchy were detonated and the enemy infantry attack that followed inflicted over 800 casualties on the British. To counter this type of enemy attack a decision was taken in February 1915 to form a number of Tunnelling Companies. These companies were made up from men drawn from the ranks, mixed with miners and other men specially recruited for this type of work. The tunnellers (Sappers) were deployed where the front lines were close together and where the geological conditions were suitable for tunnelling, such as at Hill 60, The Bluff, St Eloi, Aubers Ridge, Hooge and Givenchy. These sappers had not only to drive their own mines, but to detect and destroy the enemy’s mining systems. Often, during their own tunnelling operations, they would break through into the enemy tunnels, which would result in hand to hand fighting.
On 9th June 1915, Sapper Michael Henry Marley was admitted to No 1 Canadian General Hospital suffering from rheumatism and repatriated back to the United Kingdom. Shortly afterwards his wife, Margaret Marley, died and was buried on 15th August 1915 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. Two weeks later Michael Henry was posted to No 4 Depot Company, Royal Engineers, based at Chatham, but was later transferred to the KOYLI Depot.
On 1st January 1916 Michael Henry Marley, aged 43, married Charlotte Ann Hemingway, aged 40, a widow and mother, at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. At this time Michael Henry and Charlotte were living at Potovens Lane, Lofthouse Gate. On 10th February 1916 Michael Henry was admitted to No 2 Northern General Hospital at Leeds, suffering from emithelioma of the mouth. Six days later, on 16th February, he was considered medically unfit for further military service and discharged from the army. One month later Michael Henry Marley died, aged 43 and, on the 16th March 1916, was buried after a service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood.
The death of Michael Henry Marley is not recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as he had been discharged from military service prior to his death. However he is remembered on the War Memorial at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. He is also remembered on the Wrenthorpe Colliery Memorial, in the grounds of St John’s Church, Wakefield.
Michael Henry Marley was born in December 1872, the son of George Marley and his wife Dorothy, nee Sadler, of Bedlington, Northumberland. Shortly after he was born, his mother Dorothy died at the age of 26 years. Just over twelve months later his father, George Marley, remarried. The census of 1881 shows Michael Henry, aged 9 years, at the home of his uncle Henry Sadler at Bedlington. Ten years later, in 1891, Michael Henry was at the home of another uncle, Michael Marley, of Huntwick cum Nostell & Foulby, near Wakefield. At this time Michael Henry was employed driving horses at a coal mine. Later Michael Marley and his family moved to Outwood and lived at Park Terrace.
Records show that on 14th April 1892 Michael Henry Marley enlisted in the army at Bury, joining the Lancashire Fusiliers. He enlisted using the name James Naylor and said he was a collier, born at Wigton, Lancashire. At this time he gave his next of kin as his father George Naylor of Halifax and his brother John Thomas Marley of Ashington, Northumberland. At his medical he was passed fit for service and joined the 4th Battalion, at the depot in Bury, signing for 7 years with the Colours and 5 years in Reserve.
Shortly after enlistment, Private Michael Henry Marley, no 4036, was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. He served with the battalion in the East Indies, Egypt, Crete and Malta, before being transferred to the Army Reserve, on completion of his service with the Colours. When in Egypt, the 2nd Battalion was involved in the Battle of Omdurman, which saw the defeat of the Dervishes, under the Khalifa. On 13th November 1899, after two months in the Army Reserve, he was recalled to the Colours and posted to South Africa to join the fight against the Boers. Private Marley remained in South Africa until 1st January 1902, when he was again transferred to the Army Reserve on completion of 12 years’ service.
During his twelve years’ service Michael Henry Marley received a number of awards, including the Sudan Medal & Clasp “Khartoum” 1898, Queens Sudan Medal 1898, the South Africa Medal 1899 – 1902 with clasps for Orange Free State, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith and Laings Nek and the Kings Medal and Clasp.
On his discharge Michael Henry Marley found employment in the coal mines and in 1913 he married Margaret Gough in County Durham. He was employed as a colliery overman at Wrenthorpe Colliery and lived at Wards Buildings, Rooks Nest Road, Outwood.