Marshall, Henry William Somerville

William Marshall was the only son of Henry Rissik Marshall, of Hampstead, and Margaret Monica Marshall (daughter of Sir William Somerville KBE, DSc, of Oxford).   During his time in the school he was noted as an enthusiastic and exceptionally well-qualified Secretary of Archaeology Society (to which he left a sum of money in his will).   He was also a noted coin collector and his valuable collection was bequeathed in his will to the Royal Numismatic Society.   He went up to Trinity College, Oxford, where he took a War Degree in History in 1942, before being commissioned in 1943 into the Scots Guards.

Marshall became a keen and efficient soldier with 3rd (Armoured) Battalion, Scots Guards, equipped with Churchill tanks as part of the independent 6 Guards Tank Brigade. A fellow officer in the battalion was Wykehamist William S.I. Whitelaw (I 1931-1936), later 1st Viscount Whitelaw, KT, CH, MC, PC, DL.   Another officer in 3rd Scots Guards was Lieutenant Ronald Runcie, who went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

He married, on June 7th 1944, only six weeks before he went overseas, Sylvia Mary Hasell, of Dalemain, Penrith, Cumberland.  He paid a visit to Winchester on the evening before he sailed for France with his battalion, before enduring an appalling journey across the Channel.   Once in France Marshall seized whatever chance came along to see what was left of Norman architecture, culture and history, and would read “The Connoisseur” while sitting in a trench.

He and the 3rd Scots Guards saw their first action on 29th July, going into the attack at Caumont as part of Operation Bluecoat, the successful attack which marked the beginning of the British break-out in Normandy.   The Battalion’s first day of battle had been a unpleasant introduction and one which was shortly to be repeated at La Caviere and then on 10th August at Chenedolle, which finally smashed through the German defences.   The British advance now became so rapid that thousands of German troops were cut off.   British armoured columns were as far as Antwerp within the month.  However, Marshall was killed on 26th November at Tienray,  aged 21.   He is buried in Grave VI.E.9 of the Venray War Cemetery.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Marshall
  • Forenames or initials: Henry William Somerville
  • House: A
  • Years in School: 1936-1941
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: 3rd Armoured Battalion, Scots Guards
  • Date of Birth: 23rd February 1923
  • Date of Death: 26th November 1944
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner B1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Venray War Cemetery: Grave VI.E.9