Oliver, Roderic Magrath

He was the son of Roderic Oliver of 52 Cornhill, London and came to Winchester from Horris Hill: he was in Sixth Book and a Commoner Prefect for his last two years, a member of O.T.H. XV in 1900 and Lords in 1901. He went up to New College, Oxford the same year and took his degree in 1905 with Honours in Classics. Two years later he qualified as a solicitor and entered into partnership with his father.

On the outbreak of war he obtained a commission in the 2/5th Battalion East Kent Regiment, of which he subsequently became Adjutant. On 28th October 1916 he was transferred to the Household Battalion, going to the front with the British Expeditionary Force as Platoon Officer of No 4 Company on 31st June 1917.    The records are blank until an entry showing him as having rejoined his Battalion on 3rd June 1918 as Platoon Officer of No 3 Company.  It is possible his absence was due to an attack of trench fever. When his regiment was disbanded in January 1918, he was given a commission as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards and went to the front for the second time on May 26th 1918.

He was killed during the Second Battle of Arras on August 27th 1918 near St. Leger whilst leading the left platoon of No 3 Company in their objective to secure enemy trenches in and south of Ecoust and Longatte.

The Battalion’s Chaplain wrote to his mother on 7th September:  “……… The sense of personal loss which I feel in the death of your son can make me gauge how great your loss must be.   He was always so welcoming and cheerful and everyone loved him immensely.  And the men of his platoon who survived that terrible 27th August feel his loss very deeply indeed.”

Copies of documents relating to Lieutenant Oliver’s service and his death are lodged in the College Archives and can be seen by contacting the Archivist, Suzanne Foster on sf@wincoll.ac.uk

Also killed in this action was Lieutenant Cyril Gwyer (I 1900-1902) and Lieutenant Guy Lawrence (Coll. 1905-1912) (see individual entries).

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Oliver
  • Forenames or initials: Roderick Magrath
  • House: A
  • Years in School: 1895-1901
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Grenadier Guards
  • Date of Birth: 1st February 1882
  • Date of Death: 27th August 1918
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer A4
  • Decoration: NA