Final salute to Bobby after mystery solved
Kentish Express helps family find the answers they needed
AFTER more than half a century a man has finally been able to visit the grave of his soldier brother – thanks to the Kentish Express.
Almost two years ago, we told the tale of John Marsh, from Kennington, who was called up for National Service and posted with the Army to serve in the Suez Canal.
In April 1951 he died and was buried in a military cemetery in Egypt.
His family received a sparse telegram informing them of the death, but with little detail.
His best friend Stan Matthews from Bexleyheath, who had signed up on the same day, travelled on the same troop ship and served with the same signals unit in the desert, never forgot the young man who was known as Bobby.
We featured a pilgrimage he made to the grave of his old comrade that led to a meeting between family members and Stan, who solved the mystery of how Bobby died. He informed his family that Bobby had in fact died suddenly of polio while on service.
Now Bobby’s Spanish-based brother Ted, who is chairman of the Alicante district Royal British Legion branch, is just back from a nostalgic visit where he saluted the grave of his long lost brother.
He said: “I travelled with the Suez Veterans’ Association on a ten-day pilgrimage to the canal zone and was able to stand at the headstone of my brother after 56 years.
“We held a service complete with the Last Post in what is an excellently kept cemetery and it was a moving experience.
“Had it not been for Stan and the Kentish Express it would not have happened. I served in the RAF for 36 years and lost many comrades, but I have never come across a man like Stan who has kept alive memories of a mate for more than half a century.
“This is the final chapter of a long story and I thank Stan and the Kentish Express for making my dream a reality.”
Ted Marsh at his brother’s grave in Egypt
Private Bobby Marsh (crouching) with Army pals in the catering unit, before going to Egypt