Private 22215 Henry Dolphin Marchant
2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards
[He is shown on the CWGC as being in the 5th Battalion – This is incorrect as the 5th was a reserve battalion in England]
Private Marchant was born in Ramsbury, Wiltshire on 27 Jan 1892, and , it seems, he attended Ramsbury School. His parents, Adolphus Marchant (known as Dolphin) and Martha Wooton were married in Hungerford in 1893, and he had 6 brothers and sisters namely: George, b 1896; Charles, b 1899; Frederick, b 1902; Thomas, b 1903; Edward, b 1906; Elsie, b 1909.
In 1911, he and his family lived at Lower Denford.
He was attested at Newbury on the 16 Feb 1915. At that time he was 22 years and 11 months old. His trade was a Carter and his address was given as Great Hidden, Hungerford, Berks. He was described as 5' 10" tall, Chest 59", with chest expansion of 2". His father Dolphin Marchant lived at Undys Farm Cottage, Hungerford.
Henry Marchant was a guardsman in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, and went to the Guards Depot at Caterham on 16 Jan 1915 remaining there training until 1 Jan 1916. His army information reveals that he was 5’10 in height and was a large chested man with a 59-inch chest when not expanded and a massive 61 inches when expanded!
He went to France on the 2 Jan 1916 and may have joined the 4th Battalion. On 5 Sep 1917 he received a gun shot wound to the head after which he returned to England on 23 Sep for hospital treatment. He remained in England receiving medical treatment until 31 Mar 1919.
We believe he was again wounded on 30 May 1918 returning to England. He was sent to the VAD Hospital at Colliton House, Dorchester where on 17 Jun 1918 he died of wounds. His next of kin were informed two days later. His body was returned to Hungerford where he was buried in the Hungerford Church Cemetery, Eddington. He had a total service of 3 years, 154 days and was entitled to the British War and Victory Medal.
- Cap badge of the Grenadier Guards
- Pte Marchant's CWGC headstone in St Saviour's churchyard, 2017 (by Dr Jimmy Whittaker)
He spent most of his service apart from training at the front. He would have served on the Somme in 1916, and would most certainly taken part in the third battle of Ypres (Passendale). He was originally wounded in the Northern Ypres Salient. In March 1918 the Germans opened a huge offensive which drove back the allies and almost broke through completely. It appears he was wounded towards the end of that offensive.
He is shown as a Private. Until 1918 there was no such rank as Guardsman. This was introduced after the armistice, on the instruction of King George V in recognition of the services of the Guards Division during the war. The records show he was in the 5th Battalion at the time of his death. The practice in the guards was to transfer men who were wounded to a home battalion.