William Marshall (British Army officer)

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"William Raine Marshall" redirects here. It is not to be confused with William Rainey Marshall.
Sir William Marshall
William Raine Marshall.jpg
Lieutenant General Sir William Marshall
Born 1865
Died 1939
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Southern Army, India
Battles/wars Second Boer War
First World War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India

Lieutenant General Sir William Raine Marshall, GCMG, KCB, KCSI (1865–1939) was a British Army officer who in November 1917 succeeded Sir Frederick Stanley Maude (upon the latter's death from cholera) as Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in Mesopotamia. He kept that position until the end of the First World War.

Military career[edit]

Marshall was born at Stranton, near Hartlepool, co. Durham, on 29 October 1865, the younger son of William Marshall, solicitor, of Foggy Furs, Stranton, and his wife, Elizabeth Raine.[1] He first went to Repton School and then Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He received a commission into the Sherwood Foresters in 1886, after which he served on the Malakand expedition, on the North West Frontier and on the Tirah expedition before fighting in the Second Boer War.[2] Following the end of the war, in late May 1902, Marshall received a brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel in the South African Honours list published on 26 June 1902.[3]

Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the Western Front during 1914-15, Marshall was then posted to command 87th brigade of 29th Division in the ill-fated expedition to Gallipoli,[2] during which he received a promotion to Major-General in June 1915.

A series of divisional commands followed: 42nd, 29th, and 53rd, before he was posted to Salonika with 27th Division, and then with III (Indian) Corps on the Mesopotamian Front.[2] It was while commanding III Corps that Marshall participated in the capture of Kut-al-Amara in February 1917, and in the capture of Baghdad the following month.

With Sir Frederick Maude's death as Commander-in-Chief from cholera (most probably from contaminated milk), the hugely popular commander was replaced by the careful and meticulous Marshall,[2] appointed by Sir William Robertson at the War Office in London, the latter determined to scale back operations in Mesopotamia.

It was in this capacity that Marshall accepted the surrender of the Ottoman army at Mosul on 30 October 1918.

His post-war career took him back to India commanding the Southern Army and remaining there until 1923;[2] he retired the following year.[2]


  1. ^ F. B. Maurice, ‘Marshall, Sir William Raine (1865–1939)’, rev. Roger T. Stearn, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 ;online edn, Oct 2008 accessed 2 May 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27448. pp. 4191–4194. 26 June 1902.

Further reading[edit]

  • Marshall, Lieutenant General Sir William, Memories of Four Fronts. London: Ernest Benn Ltd, 1929.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Anderson
GOC-in-C, Southern Army, India
1919 – 1923
Succeeded by
Sir Andrew Skeen