Novel by war hero is finally published

The Westmorland Gazette: William Edge Marshall William Edge Marshall

A FORMER Sedbergh School pupil killed in action during the Second World War has had his story of ‘intrigue and espionage’ published with the help of his son.

The fictional book, Jarl Boethar, The Earl of Buttermere, by William Edge Marshall, details the warlord’s resistance to the Normans in 1066 from his ‘secret stronghold’ in the Lakeland fells.

His son David Marshall, a writer who is a member of the Mungrisdale Writers’ Group near Keswick, had read the manuscript when he was a teenager.

Mr Marshall, who lives at Dockray, Ullswater, said: “I knew of the manuscript from an early age as my mother tried to get it published after the war but was unsuccessful.

“I read the book when I was in my teens and ever since then I wanted to get it published.

“In 2013, my PA, Vishwa Ramburuth and her son Pramesh Totaram worked hard on the manuscript and it was finally published in December last year.”

William Edge Marshall was born in 1905 in Morecambe. His father, Dr John Willis Marshall was a headmaster, running his own school at Leighton Hall, near Carnforth.

William was educated at Sedbergh School and he then went on to agricultural college.

He gave up farming to write in 1938 and lived in a cottage in Finsthwaite, near Newby Bridge, with his wife, Winifred, moving to Kendal for a short time and at the outbreak of the war he joined up as an RAF Volunteer Reservist.

While living in Kendal, the couple would walk around the mountains above Buttermere, where William told his wife about Boethar and his exploits “I think the majority of the manuscript was written when at the cottage but I believe it may have been completed in Kendal, just before my father signed up,” said David.

In 1944 he was seconded to the Royal Canadian Air Force 424 Squadron and while laying mines in preparation for the D-Day landings in Normandy, his aircraft was hit by light flak and he was killed.

His body still lies at the bottom of the sea.

It seems writing is ingrained in the family with David’s aunt, Dorothy Marshall a well-known historical writer. David edited her autobiography, The Making of a Twentieth Century Woman, in 2003.

After seeing the final copy of his father’s manuscript, David described it as ‘a fantastic moment’.

The book is described as ‘a love story, a story of intrigue, espionage, betrayal and disillusionment’ and is available on Amazon.

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