|Sir Owen Morshead|
28 September 1893|
1 June 1977 (aged 83)|
Sturminster Newton, Dorset
|Years of service||1915–1919|
|Commands held||9th Battalion, Berkshire Home Guard|
First World War|
Second World War
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order|
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches (5)
Legion of Honour (France)
War Merit Cross (Italy)
Morshead was born in Tavistock, Devon, the son of Reginald Morshead and Ella Mary Moreshead. He was educated at Marlborough College and then, initially intending to pursue a career in the Royal Engineers, at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1913 he relinquished his cadetship and entered Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Morshead's studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, in which he saw active service on the Western Front and Italian Front as a commissioned officer in the Royal Engineers. During the war he was awarded the Military Cross, invested as a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, awarded the Italian War Merit Cross and was Mentioned in Despatches five times. He subsequently returned to Cambridge where he read Modern Languages. Upon graduating he became librarian of the Pepys Library.
In 1926 he became Royal Librarian at Windsor Castle and served in the position until 1958. During the Second World War he commanded the 9th Battalion, Berkshire Home Guard and from 1946 to 1958 was a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire. Morshead was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1933, a Commander (CVO) in 1937, a Knight Commander (KCVO) in 1944, and a Knight Grand Cross (GCVO) upon his retirement in 1958. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1953. Morshead was sent by George VI to Friedrichshof with Anthony Blunt in March 1945 to secure papers relating to the German Empress Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria. It is now believed that the pair were recovering sensitive papers relating to correspondence between Edward VIII and Adolf Hitler. From 1958 to 1971 he was given the honorary title of Emeritus Librarian by Elizabeth II.
Morshead married Paquita, daughter J.G. Hagemeyer, of Florence, Italy in 1926. They had one son and two daughters. Morshead was the founder and chairman of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust. He was a close personal friend of George V and a member of the Roxburghe Club.
- "No. 31094". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1919. p. 65.
- "No. 30614". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 April 1918. p. 4198.
- "No. 14246". The Edinburgh Gazette. 6 July 1926. p. 755.
- "No. 34396". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1937. p. 3084.
- "No. 39863". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1953. p. 2943.
- Bradford, Sarah (1989). King George VI. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-79667-4. p.426.
- "No. 41511". The London Gazette. 30 September 1958. p. 5973.