Henry C. Marshall, 1890-1915

Kensington to Cairo and from Cairo to Gallipoli: album of photographs, 1914-1915, PXA 1861

Photographer Henry Marshall was working in the Grace Brothers photographic studio in Sydney when war was declared. He was 24 years old when he enlisted in August 1914. He was one of the early enlistments, his service number was ‘577'.

Instead of writing a diary, Henry captures his new life of soldiering in detail through his camera lens. Henry took photographs of his friends at the training camp at Kensington, but he also had friends photographing him. Henry features in a number of photographs throughout the album. Each time he appears, he captions himself ‘577’ which was his enlistment number.

He is shown in the album modelling his soldier’s kit before departing for Gallipoli. Henry likes to document every facet of a soldier’s experience, including marching in the deserts around Cairo, taking photographs of his friends climbing the pyramids and surviving in the trenches at Gallipoli.

In Egypt he photographs his mates climbing to the top of the Great Pyramid at Giza. On Christmas Day, 1914 the boys visit the town of Heliopolis.
Whilst in Egypt, in Mena camp, Henry develops some of his films. He photographs his work of printing his photographs which are bound in printing frames, leaning against some rocks.

Henry created his first album of photographs which document his soldiering from Kensington, Sydney to Cairo. He wrote captions for 356 photographs. The remaining 167 images, which include arriving at Gallipoli and his last days fighting on the Peninsula, are not captioned. The last photograph of himself shows him sitting in his dugout, shaving. He was documenting life, right up to the end.

On the Gallipoli Peninsula

In the early morning hours on 5th of June, Henry was a member of a raiding party ordered to capture a machine gun from a section of Turkish trenches on the Gallipoli Peninsula. During the raid, Henry received a wound to his leg and a more serious wound to his chest. He was evacuated out by stretcher-bearers. He lasted five more days.

Henry died on the hospital ship Sicilia of wounds on 10th of June, somewhere between Gallipoli and Malta. He was buried at sea.

Amongst his personal effects mailed back to his family in Tasmania was a brown paper parcel containing a photograph album, camera film and three printing frames.

Military parade, Macquarie Street, Sydney
A birthday treat(y) signals a short-lived period of world peace

Being an ardent pacifist I was delighted to discover that the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June – my birthday!  An examination of the souvenir programme, Victory Celebrations (Signing of Peace), revealed a route  that was to pass in front of the original Mitchell Library.  Further searching of the Library’s collections revealed this magnificent photo of the event.

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