Asquith, Raymond


The eldest son of the Right Hon. Herbert Henry Asquith, K.C., M.P., Prime Minister from 1907-1916; his four brothers were also Wykehamists. He came into College from Summerfields, Oxford, and in his last year was Prefect of Chapel. He won the Queen’s Gold Medal for Latin Essay, together with the Warden and Fellows’ Prizes for Greek Prose and Verse, and in 1897 was awarded the Goddard Scholarship. He was also second captain of College VI. The same year he went up with a Scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he had an exceptionally fine career. He took First Classes in Classical Moderations, Literae Humaniores and Jurisprudence, and was awarded successively the Craven, Ireland, Derby and Eldon Scholarships.

In 1900 he was elected President of the Union, and in 1901 became a Fellow of All Souls. In addition to his academic successes he became widely known in the university as a brilliant conversationalist and a writer of light verse. In 1904 he was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple and had laid the foundations of a large practice. He was engaged as Junior Counsel in the North Atlantic Fisheries Arbitration and in the Enquiry into the loss of the Titanic. Shortly before the war he was appointed a Junior Counsel to the Inland Revenue and adopted as prospective Liberal Candidate for Derby.

Soon after war broke out he was gazetted to the Queen’s Westminsters, transferring later to the Grenadier Guards. For a time he was employed on the staff but at his own request was sent back to his battalion a few weeks before the opening of the Battle of the Somme. He fell in Trones Wood on September 15th 1916 whilst leading the first half of 4 Company in an attack near Ginchy at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. He was shot in the chest and died while being carried back to the British lines.

He is buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery where his headstone is inscribed “Small time, but in that small most greatly lived this star of England” – the concluding line from Shakespeare’s Henry V. When he was dying on the battlefield he gave the doctor his flask to give to his father; it was placed by the side of his bed and never moved until he left office.

Mr. Asquith married in 1907 Miss Katherine Horner, and left a son and two daughters.

He was not the only Wykehamist to die that day on the Somme: ten others were killed or mortally wounded, including Captain Arthur Innes Adam (Coll.1907-1912, 1/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment); Lieutenant Colonel Eric Wiliam Benson (A 1901-1906 King’s Royal Rifle Corps); Major Charles Blair-Wilson (I1908-1913, 42nd Canadian Infantry); Lieutenant George Macpherson (I1909-1915, Heavy Section – Tanks – Machine Gun Corps); Lieutenant Warine Frederick Martindale (B1907-1912, 1st Scots Guards); Captain Desmond Clere Parsons (E1903-1908, 2nd Irish Guards); Lance Corporal 73832 Henry Mark Ruddock (H1908-1913, 28th Canadian Infantry); 2nd Lieutenant Evelyn Godfrey Worsley (A1898-1903, 3rd Grenadier Guards); 2nd Lieutenant Geoffrey Wilfrid Penfold Wyatt (D1909-1915, 1st East Kent Regiment); and Lieutenant Raymond Gilbert Hooker Yeatherd (F1904-1908, 2nd Dragoon Guards).

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Asquith
  • Forenames or initials: Raymond
  • House: College
  • Years in School: 1892-1897
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Grenadier Guards
  • Date of Birth: 6th November 1878
  • Date of Death: 15th September 1916
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer A1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: GUILLEMONT ROAD CEMETERY: Grave 1.B.3