Morley, Marmaduke Robert Hood


Only son of Alfred Noel Morley of Lychwood, Worplesdon Hill, Woking and Jessie Maria Morley, daughter of William Ford and sister of Dr Lionel Ford, Headmaster of Harrow. He came to Winchester as an Exhibitioner from West Downs, was Head of House in his last year and a Commoner Prefect. He kept goal for the Soccer XI, captained 2nd XI cricket team and, according to the Wykehamist of August 1916, developed an exceptionally fine tenor voice. He was elected to an Exhibition at Magdalene College, Cambridge to read for the History Tripos, when war broke out.

He obtained a commission in 8th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, one of Kitchener’s New Army Battalions, and went to the front in August 1915. On 1st July 1916 they were in Ovillers, ready for the first assault of the Battle of the Somme. 8KOYLI were told that their attack would be a walk-over: “When you go over the top, you can slope arms, light up your pipes and cigarettes, and march all the way to Pozieres before meeting any live Germans.” (Quoted in Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme, Allen Lane 1971).   It was anything but, although initially they made relatively good progress. However, as subsequent waves of men got half way across No Man’s Land, the Germans subjected them to a hail of rifle, machine gun and artillery fire and brought the attack to a halt. The attack was witnessed and recorded by Captain Alan Hanbury-Sparrow (A 1905-1910), of 2nd Royal Berkshires, who was forward observation officer that day: “Presently, as the barrage went forward, so did the air clear, and I could see what was happening… In No Man’s Land were heaps of dead, with Germans almost standing up in their trenches, well over the top, firing and sniping at those who had taken refuge in the shell holes… Realization came in as to what had really happened. It was the most enormous disaster that had befallen the 8th Division; the whole division was ruined.” Morley had actually made it across into the German trenches, although twice wounded whilst leading the remnants of his battalion. Despite his wounds he refused to go back. The Germans were quick to launch counter attacks and Morley, who remained with his men, was eventually killed. 8th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry lost 24 officers that day and 549 men killed, missing or wounded. The only man left uninjured was the Medical Officer.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Morley
  • Forenames or initials: Marmaduke Robert Hood
  • House: E
  • Years in School: 1907-1913
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
  • Date of Birth: 18th April 1894
  • Date of Death: 1st July 1916
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer E2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, AUTHUILE WOOD: Grave V.J.22