marston_framed.png
midshipman_adj.png

Frank Marston while a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy

Frank Rutherford Marston was born in Pensacola on January 1, 1893, the son of Frank Marston and Sallie Anne Ferguson (of Mobile, Alabama). His father had immigrated to America from England in 1880 and supported his family as a furniture store owner while living at 1705 North 12th Avenue. Frank partnered with Edward G. Quina to form the long-lasting Marston & Quina Furniture Company at 108 South Palafox Street. Frank and his sister Florence would graduate from Pensacola High School in 1911 and 1909 respectively. During his Junior year at Pensacola High, Frank received an appointment and attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.   On June 8, 1915, during his junior Midshipman year at Annapolis, he resigned.  

 

At the outbreak of World War I, Frank enlisted in the U.S. Army and immediately received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, assigned to the 30th Infantry Division.   His brother Oliver followed him and would become a decorated aviator of both World War I and World War II.

 

In 1918, the Regiment was assigned to the 6th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. The Regiment departed Camp Merritt, New Jersey on March 3rd and set sail for Liverpool, England, arriving in France on April 4, 1918.  On May 30th, the Regiment was placed on the front line on the Marne River.  For the next six weeks, they improved their defensive positions and conducted information gathering patrols across the river.  But on July 14th, the horror of the second battle of the Marne began.  At midnight a tremendous German bombardment on their position commenced.  At 4:00 a.m. on the 15th, German forces crossed the Marne River on a pontoon bridge and canvas boats.  With the Regiment hunkered down in their bunkers, the Germans were shocked that anyone lived through the artillery fire.  The moment the Germans crossed the Marne River they were struck with a deadly fire from the entire Regiment.  The advancing Germans were attacked from all sides, with entire groups killed or captured.  The enemy was shocked and bewildered at the intensity of the American fire and by 7:00 a.m. most of the fighting was over in the Regiment's sector.  The Regiment's losses were very heavy, not from the infantry attack, but from the bombardment.  The casualties sustained by the Regiment for the Champagne-Marne Defensive were 25 officers and 1,400 men.  One of those men was newly promoted Captain Frank Rutherford Marston of Pensacola, Florida. His body was recovered and is buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France.

 

His parents had received a letter from him about his promotion to Captain on the same day they received news from the War Department of their son's death.  Sadly, his father was gravely ill at the time so the family never informed him of his son's passing.   Captain Marston's father would pass away two months later and is buried in St. John's Cemetery.  As Pensacola's first casualty of the war, the American Legion Post 33 was named in his honor. 

 

Memorials

Captain Marston is listed on the Class of 1916 killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall, U.S. Naval Academy.  

The city of Pensacola would also create a park in his name that was located just West of the L & N train station (now Pensacola Grand Hotel) on Alcaniz Street and just South of Wright Street.   The park, which has been removed, had a large gold fish pond.