Thomas Marren

Co. Sligo

"Newly risen how brightly you shine"

- Motto of New South Wales, Australia.


A man from humble beginnings, Thomas Marren was born on the 20th of November 1887 in Tubbercurry, County Sligo to Mary and Laurence Marren. They resided in a small 2-roomed cottage on 11 acres of land. The Marrens were Roman Catholics and were members of the Parish of Curry, Co. Sligo. According to the 1901 and 1911 census, Mary and Laurence had 8 children born to them, but evidently only 6 survived. 2 girls (Bridget and Mary) and 4 boys (Patrick, Michael, Thomas and Laurence) They all attended Moylough primary school up to the age of 13. The old schoolhouse is no longer standing but I found it was around a 30 minute walk from their home. The family were of a farming background, although, Laurence is absent for the 1901 census, but returns for the 1911 census. It was very likely that he left to find extra work elsewhere to support the family.

Pictured here is what is left of the cottage now, nothing but a back wall, a cow shed, a piggery and a chicken house.

Pictured above is a picture of the roll book of Moylough Primary school 1897. Thomas Marren's name is 4th from the bottom. He was 10 years old at the time.

Pictured here is an English dictionary from the Marren's home. It is the only possession of the Marrens that is still remaining today. It is currently owned by their neighbour, Charles Henry.

Military Life.

Thomas emigrated to Australia in his late teens. He lived in a Teralba in New South Wales, Australia. He worked as a miner in the Teralba Colliery and boarded with a woman named Lucy Ann Millar. Thomas never married and had no children as his next of kin is listed as his mother, Mary Marren. 

Thomas enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces on the 6th of July 1915 at the age of 27 in Liverpool, New South Wales. Although, he is registered as Private T. Marrion in all of his military records (most likely due to a spelling error). He was placed in the 4th Reinforcement of the 17th Battalion. They embarked from Sydney on board the HMAT A8 Argyllshire on the 30th of September 1915 and arrived in a bay off the Suez Canal, Egypt on the 30th of October to train in the Tel-El-Kebir camp. 

Download the Attestation Papers for Thomas Marren


After 5 months of training in Tel-El-Kebir, the 17th battalion sailed from Alexandria, Egypt on the 17th of March 1916 and arrived in Marseilles, France on the 22nd of March. Their first major battle was the Battle of Pozieres, which began during the middle stages of the Battle of the Somme. Lasting from the 23rd of July to the 7th of August 1916.

More info on the Battle of Pozieres

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death and burial.

Sadly, Thomas was killed in action in the Battle of Pozieres on the 26th of July 1916, aged 28. He is buried at Gordon Dump cemetery (also called Sausage Valley) in Ovillers-La Boiselle in France. His grave reference is plot 1, row B, grave number 24. The inscription on his grave was requested by his father, Laurence and it states: 

‘Sacred heart of Jesus have mercy on his soul’.

View Thomas Marren`s Casualty Form, his Will and his Kit Store Documents.


Download Newspaper Article and Letters.


after death.

During the centenary period of the AIF entering WWI, the name of each Australian who gave their lives during the war is projected into the façade of the Hall of Memory at the Australian War memorial in Canberra. This runs from the 4th of August 2014 until the 11th of November 2018. During this period, Thomas Marren’s name will be displayed about 30 times.

Thomas Marren was awarded the 1914/15 Star, a British War medal and a Victory Medal. (Pictured L-R) A memorial scroll and plaque, a telegram, a medal index card and a kit store was sent to Thomas’ next of kin (his mother Mary) following his death. 


Unfortunately, I could not find any living relatives of Thomas Marren. His younger brother Laurence or ‘Larry’ Marren died a bachelor in 1985. His younger sister Mary married a local man and emigrated to America.(pictured here with her husband and children) There is no way of telling whether his 3 older siblings had children as there was a fire in Curry church in 1922, destroying a lot of baptismal and marriage records from the time. Although, I did visit the grave of Thomas’ parents and his brother Larry in Doocastle, County Mayo. 

the final chapter.

What an incredible experience this was, to visit the grave of the man that I have studied over the past few months. At this stage, it almost feels like I know him. It was so poignant and so emotional to see the name of Thomas Marren written on the grave. All of this research became a reality. It was no longer written on a piece of paper, or typed on a computer screen, it was right in front of me. It is difficult to explain the emotion that I felt but all I can say is that I feel as though I have carried out an act of dignity that was owed to Thomas Marren, one that has been a long time coming.

I now realise the full meaning of the phrase: “All blood runs red.” whether it be an Irishman fighting with the British forces, or a German fighting for what he thought was right, all of these men deserved to be acknowledged and respected in the same way. War is war and it doesn't matter who they were or what they were fighting for, they all had a family, people who cared about them, people who would miss them. Most of the graves that I saw were of unknown soldiers, which is probably one of the saddest things I have ever seen. It is also safe to say that the majority of these graves were never visited. I feel so honoured to be able to say that I was the one who was able to carry out this act of remittance and respect to Thomas Marren.

My name is Emily Acheson. I am a 6th year student in Ursuline College, Sligo and I have been lucky enough to be chosen to represent my county in this 'Adopt a WWI Soldier' project. Since November I have been doing intensive research on my soldier, Pte. Thomas Marren. Over these past few months I have learned so much about his life and eventual passing on the battlefields of the Somme. I feel so privileged to be the first person to visit this man's grave, to give him the respect and acknowledgement that he deserves, as a brother, a son and a WWI soldier.

Collins Barracks

Pictured here are all of the students and organisers involved in the project. We met for the first time at Collins Barracks on the 7th of March 2015. Needless to say we all got on so well and couldn't wait for our trip in June.

Pictured here is Ruarcc Ballantine (Leitrim) , Ms. Galbraith (a history teacher from the Sligo Grammar School.) and myself in the courtyard of Collins Barracks.



I would like to say a huge word of thanks to everyone who helped and guided me through this project. Firstly, to Ms. Timoney, my history teacher for informing me about this project and helping me with my application. Without her I never would have gotten this chance of a lifetime. I would also like to thank Charles Henry, a local man who owns the land on which the Marren's cottage rests. He has been so wonderful in regards to supplying me with plenty of extremely useful information about the family and the area. I certainly wouldn't have gotten very far in this research if it weren't for him. Last, but not least, I would like to say a most sincere word of thanks to Gerry Moore, Michael Collins and the rest of the team for all of their hard work which is greatly appreciated by all of us involved. It has been an amazing journey and I'm so glad I got to share it with such incredible people!