Tag Archives: George Harry Fordham Marriner


On 4 August 1914 regular army units received a one word War Office telegram: “Mobilize” [sic]. Author Richard van Emden tweeted this image of one such telegram as logged by the orderly room of 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards at Tidworth Camp that day.

2nd Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment), stationed at Bordon Camp in Hampshire would have received something similar, their war diary notes that the mobilisation order was received at 5:30pm. Serving with them was Walter Markey of Burstow. In fact, from 29 July, units had been ordered on to a “precautionary period”, meaning that guards had to be placed on strategic points, and mobilisation preparations were begun. The Surrey History Centre posted this photo of the battalion on parade at Bordon in August 1914 – presumably Markey is somewhere in the ranks.

A military formation drawn up in ranks on a parade ground, a few barrack buildings visible in the background. At the front of the formation are five officers on horseback

1st Battalion, The Queen’s, on parade at Bordon, August 1914 (SHC ref QRWS/2/13/7)

You can read their full story here.

The London Gazette also published a special supplement with the King’s official notice calling up all army reservists and embodying the Territorial Force. This notice would have set Walter Hodges of Benhilton on the way to his regimental depot at Ayr in order to rejoin the Royal Scots Fusiliers. For pre-war Territorials like George Marriner of and George Naish of Kingston it would have caused them to report to their drill halls where their units were moving onto a war footing. Just a few days earlier they would have been anticipating the pleasures of the annual summer camp, but those were largely cancelled as the European situation worsened.

The Royal Navy had actually been mobilised the previous day (an ealier London Gazette supplement contained the notice). In fact, they had already carried out a test mobilisation in July, and many of the men, including Nutfield’s Alfred Bashford, were already back aboard their ships (HMS Good Hope in Bashford’s case). The interesting day-by-day republication of The Daily Telegraph showed how closely this was reported at the time, and the naval mobilisation is one fo the topics most picked out by their archives’ twitter account, which can be seen via the widget below:

For more on the mobilisation process, see today’s Operation War Diary blogpost. The Friends of the Suffolk Regiment are also tweeting the mobilisation process as undertaken by 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, beginning with this tweet:

Also, this blog post, and following ones described the mobilisation of 1st West Kents.

Leatherhead, St Mary and St Nicholas – Winchy and Marriner

Six men from SS Mary and Nicholas, Leatherhead served during the course of the war. Their number includes probably two of the highest profile ringers listed on the original roll Alfred Henry Winch (Winchy) and George Harry Fordham Marriner. Winch taught Marriner to ring in the early years of the 20th century, and thereafter they rang many peals together over the next 60 years winning Leatherhead an international reputation among ringers. Marriner is reported to have been quite shy and retiring, while Winchy was quite the opposite!

While Harry Marks himself doesn’t seem to have had a huge reputation as a ringer, his family had been involved in ringing at Leatherhead since at least 1795 when his great-grandfather rang in a peal of 6528 changes of Oxford Treble Bob Major. Of the two Otway brothers, it would appear that William Ernest Otway may have been the better-known ringer, he had an obituary in The Ringing World while Arthur Charles Otway did not. William was said to have rung about 40 peals, and to be a member of the Surrey Association, Winchester Diocesan Guild, Royal Cumberland Youths and the St Margaret’s Westminster Association. So far the least is known of the final man, Thomas Newnham.