One tough stoker

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author)

Location(s): Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Leading Seaman Electronic Technician Christopher Cox from HMAS Perth III, narrated the story of Stoker Jack Sydney Marshall who survived the sinking Perth in the Battle of the Sunda Strait and died later on Burma-Thai railway. (photo: Unknown)
Leading Seaman Electronic Technician Christopher Cox from HMAS Perth III, narrated the story of Stoker Jack Sydney Marshall who survived the sinking Perth in the Battle of the Sunda Strait and died later on Burma-Thai railway.

Representatives from the Royal Australian Navy, family, friends and the broader community gathered at the Australian War Memorial to pay tribute to Stoker Jack Sydney Marshall.
 
The late afternoon ceremony commenced with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of the Lament, and the placing of wreaths beside the Pool of Reflection.  
 
Leading Seaman Electronic Technician Christopher Cox from HMAS Perth III, narrated the story of Stoker Jack Sydney Marshall.
 
Born in the small town of Waratah in western Tasmania, Jack Sydney Marshall enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in July 1941. Marshall was posted to HMAS Perth in January 1942 after serving his in initial training at HMAS Cerberus
 
HMAS Perth fought alongside USS Houston in a gruelling battle in the Sunda Strait against a formidable Japanese force. Perth was struck by four torpedos, righted herself, heeled over to port and sank in the early hours of 1 March 1942. 
 
Stoker Jack Marshall managed to abandon ship and embark on one of the life rafts with the other survivors of the sinking. He was transported to Burma, where he was part of large work force assembled by the Japanese to build the Burma–Thailand Railway. 
 
Jack Marshall passed away on 11 March 1944 after succumbing to cerebral malaria at the age of twenty four. His body is buried in the British and Commonwealth war cemetery at Thanbyuzayat, in Myanmar.
 
Charlotte Wright, a student representing Canberra Grammar School, had the honour of placing a floral wreath beside the Pool of Reflection. Charlotte’s father, John Wright, also served onboard HMAS Perth II in 1993.
 
“It was a real privilege to place the wreath during the ceremony today,” she said.
 
The reciting of the Ode followed by the sounding of the Last Post and a final reflection by the Master of Ceremonies concluded the ceremony. 
 
‘Lest we forget’ Stoker Jack Sydney Marshall, one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told at the Australian War Memorial.