PRIVATE HERBERT HENRY SOMERSET MARKS
1ST SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 21
BURIED: PERONNE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
This sounds rather a harsh inscription for a parent to chose for their son: "To this end was I born". It comes from St John's gospel and was chosen by Private Mark's father, Major Herbert Beaumont Marks. In St John, Christ has been brought before Pontius Pilate to be tried.
"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
St John 18 v. 37
The inscription implies that Major Marks was one of those who believed war with Germany to be inevitable, the logical conclusion of the growth of German militarism. And this being the case, that he knew his son was in line to be sacrificed in the forthcoming war. In 1910, Major HB Marks had been appointed Area Officer for the town of Townsville in Northern Queensland. This put him in charge of the local militia and of recruitment, making sure that even the young men of Townsville were prepared for war.
His son enlisted on 20 May 1916 when he was 18 and 9 months. Prior to this young Marks had been working as a station hand. He embarked from Australia in September 1916 and served with the 41st Battalion Australian Infantry. This took part in the Australian attack on Peronne on 1 September 1918. It was a terrible battle, the machine-gun fire, especially the enfilade, the greatest the battalion had ever experienced causing many casualties. The war diary is unusually descriptive:
"This fire also prevented us from removing some of our casualties from the front line as the Boche fired on stretcher bearers, killing and wounding a whole team. We took a large number of prisoners, some two hundred and fifty, together with five Field Guns, the teams of which "D" Coy. Lewis Gunners shot on reaching their objective, while the enemy was trying to withdraw them."
Marks was one of the 120 casualties suffered by the 41st battalion that day.