Martyn, David Vivian

David Martyn was the elder son of Major Rendel Vivian Martyn (Coldstream Guards), of 20 Queen’s Gate Gardens, Kensington, London, and Florence Nancye Martyn. He had strong Hopperite connections, since his maternal uncle was Lieutenant-General Sir Otto Lund KCB (I 1905-09) and he was the cousin of the three Sinclair brothers: Christopher (I 1929-34), Mike (I 1931-1936) and John (I 1934-39). His own younger brother, Peter Vivian Martyn, was also a Wykehamist (A 1939-1943).

Like his cousins, and his younger brother, he came to Winchester from the Reverend P.C. Underhill’s school, Wellington House, at Westgate.   He left from Sixth Book 1(b) as a Senior Prefect with a fine record. He won a prize for French Speech, was ‘mentioned’ for the German and Spanish Prizes, and won the Hundred Yards, Quarter Mile and Long Jump as his contribution to Taylor Cup.   He won the Belt of Honour at the Sandhurst OCTU in July 1943, and was later regarded as a most capable and promising young officer, who inspired his men with confidence from the start.

He was able to visit Winchester briefly on his way to Normandy when serving as a Lieutenant in 1 Armoured Battalion of the Coldstream Guards.  Martyn’s Squadron Commander was Reggie Batt (E1922-1927).   Another Wykehamist, Lieutenant Thomas Miles Courtenay Bodley (F1934-1939), was in 3 Squadron. All three would die before the end of 1944 (see individual entries).

They were in Normandy by 1st July 1944.  At Cagny in northern Normandy they spent a night under enemy fire, and the following two nights sheltering in their tanks from German shell and rifle fire, before retiring on 21st July.  They were in Bayeux on 30th July.  Operation Blue Coat began the following day, with British troops trying to prevent the Germans from spoiling an American breakthrough.

On 1st August 1 Squadron passed through the village of St Charles de Percy, but was held up at Courteil and at dawn the HQ of 3rd Irish Guards was attacked, killing their Commanding Officer, Reggie Batt, who was shot through the head.

Martyn and his radio-operator were killed instantly by a direct hit on his tank from a German Panther tank, while he was guarding a threatened flank at Point 176, St Charles de Percy.

Martyn, who was killed at the age of twenty, is buried in joint grave V.C.7 of the St. Charles de Percy War Cemetery.  He lies alongside his radio-operator, Guardsman 2664943 John William Peart.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Martyn
  • Forenames or initials: David Vivian
  • House: I
  • Years in School: 1937-1942
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Coldstream Guards
  • Date of Birth: 11th December 1923
  • Date of Death: 4th August 1944
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner B2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: St Charles de Percy War Cemetery: Grave V.C.7