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Marson, John Charles (1896-1915) | by sherborneschoolarchives
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Marson, John Charles (1896-1915)

Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the First World War, 1914-1918.


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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.


Details: John Charles Marson (1896-1915), 15 April 1896 in London. Only son of the Revd. Charles Latimer Marson (Vicar of Hambridge, Somerset; author of 'The Psalms at Work', 'Huppim and Muppim', and 'Folk Songs from Somerset' with Cecil James Sharp) and Clotilda Marson (nee Bayne), later of 86, Oakwood Road, Golder's Green, London. Nephew of Captain Harry Marson (killed in the Afridi War, 1897); great-great grandson of the Revd. Ronald Bayne, D.D., Chaplain of the Black Watch.


Attended All Hallow's School, Honiton.


Attended Sherborne School (Harper House) April 1910-July 1913.


Attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated in 1913) but transferred to Glasgow University as he wished to study naval architecture


Occupation: Naval architect.


At the outbreak of war he was offered a commission by the Glasgow University Officers' Training Corps. He was gazetted Second Lieutenant in September 1914 and was sent to Barry Camp to train.


WW1, 2nd Lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment. 1 September 1914, gazetted to 6th Bn., Loyal North Lancashire Regiment; was transferred to the Welsh Regiment, 8th (S.) Bn. (Pioneers); went to the Dardanelles on 15 June 1915, and after a month at Lemnos landed at Anzac. Killed on the summit of Chunuk Bair at Suvla Bay on 8 August 1915, aged 19.


Commemorated at:

Helles Memorial, Panel 140 to 144,%20JOHN...


Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; no.8 memorial pew in the School chapel; Harper House roll of honour.


In 1916, Mrs Clotilda Marson founded at Sherborne School the Marson Memorial Prize (Greek) in memory of her son, John Charles Marson. The prize has been awarded from that day to the present day.


He was killed on the summit of Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915. The troops on that morning were advancing in three columns, the 8th Welsh Pioneers, being on the right, this column was ordered to climb up the Chunuk Bair Ridge; with the 8th Welsh were the Wellington Battalion, the 7th Gloucesters, the Auckland Mounted Rifles, and the Maori contingent. They raced one another up the steep and fixed themselves on the south-western slopes and crest of the main knoll known as the height of Chunuk Bair. Here, yards ahead and single-handed, engaging ten or fifteen Turks, Lieutenant Marson fell mortally wounded.


His Commanding Officer, Col. Lynn Stevens wrote: ‘He would not suffer restraint, but charged forward, outstripping everybody in his resolve to do his duty.’


Lieutenant E.B. Gwyther wrote: ‘You have indeed lost a son to be proud of. He died leading his men on, and yards in front of all, and he was last seen alive fighting ten or fifteen Turks all by himself. He did not know what fear was, and everybody admired his pluck, and were amazed at his courage. There wasn’t a man in his platoon that could speak too highly of his courage, pluck and determination... I know you will be glad to hear that John was considered one of the most heroic and brave of all his fellow officers and men of the 8th Welsh Regiment.’


Lieutenant-Colonel J.A. Bald, of the 8th Welsh wrote: ‘I heard that the last seen of your son was that he was gallantly leading his men in the face of what must have been a very severe fire, rifle in hand, more than ready to do his share. I always looked on him as absolutely without fear, and knew when it came to the point he would show himself a good leader.’


Captain Gordon Williams, the Commanding Officer, wrote: ‘He was a great favourite with us all, and he made an excellent Officer, always showing plenty of keenness, and was never, if I may say so, without a cheery smile upon his face. We had to hold a hill that day, with the New Zealanders, against terrific counter-attacks, and your son throughout the action behaved magnificently, finally to be shot down, bayonet and rifle in hand, surrounded by Turks. His men brought him in, and Lieutenant Gwyther had him placed on a stretcher during the fight, but he died at once, and could only be buried then and there, right in the midst of the fighting.’


Captain Jenkins, of the 8th Welsh Regiment, wrote: ‘Entirely heedless of danger, he was always encouraging his men, and always at the most critical point. You may rest assured that your son died bravely doing his duty.’

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Taken on July 22, 2013