1. Memorial:Guards Cemetery Windy Corner, Cuinchy
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.129
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour8A GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

Son of The Hon. Robert and Mrs. Marsham-Townshend, of 5, Chesterfield St., Mayfair, London.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 2/Scots Guards 

2nd Battalion August 1914 : at Tower of London. September 1914 : attached to 20th Brigade, 7th Division. 9 August 1915 : transferred to 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division

Action : The Battle of Festubert 

Festubert (15-25 May 1915) was really a continuation of the Battle of Aubers Ridge that had been called off on 10th May, and in places fought over the same ground with the same depressing outcome. Some minor tactical success was achieved but it did not justify the 16,000 casualties. It did however reinforce the lessons of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge and conditioned planning and thinking that evolved into the tactical planning of the Somme in 1916.

Detail :

Second Lieutenant Ferdinand Marsham-Townshend, 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, was killed in action at the Rue du Bois on 16 May 1915. One of two officers and eighty Scots Guardsman who 'fought to the last cartridge' and whose bodies were subsequently discovered 'surrounded by heaps of German corpses' The following is extracted from The Bond of Sacrifice, Volume II: 'Second Lieutenant Ferdinand Marsham-Townshend who was killed in action on the 16th May 1915, near Festubert, France and was buried there, was the second son of the Hon. Robert Marsham- Townshend, formerly in the Diplomatic Service, son of the 3rd Earl of Romney, of Frognal, Sidcup, Kent, and his wife, the Hon. Mrs Marsham-Townshend, daughter of the Rev. George Barber Paley, Rector of Freckenham, Suffolk. Second Lieutenant F. Marsham-Townshend was born at 5 Chesterfield Street, Mayfair, London, on the 17th April 1880, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree of B.A. in 1903. He received his commission on probation in the Special Reserve of Scots Guards in February 1915, and for active service was attached to the 2nd Battalion of his regiment. Second Lieutenant F. Marsham-Townshend had been at the front for about two months when he was killed. The following account of the fighting on the 16th May 1915 was published in a weekly paper: Another episode which sent my mind back to the early days of the war was the heroic stand of the officers and men of the Scots Guards in the sanguinary fighting in the Rue du Bois. Two officers and eighty men of the Scots Guards fought to the last cartridge, and were found dead in the Rue du Bois, surrounded by heaps of German corpses. This was during the fighting at Festubert. This is what Mr Valentine Williams says of these brave fellows: 'Soaked by the rain, blackened by the sun their bodies were not beautiful to look upon; but the German dead spread plentifully around, the empty cartridge cases scattered about, the twisted bayonets and the broken rifles showed the price a Scots Guard sets upon his honour. No monarch ever had a finer lying in state than those eighty guardsman dead amid the long coarse grass of this dreary Flanders plain. Second Lieutenant Marsham-Townshend was one of the two officers referred to. The other officer was Dennis STEPHENSON, also a freemason of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge No 3403. No doubt these two brethren together understood the meaning of contemplating their inevitable destiny in that trench.

Both are buried at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France. Marsham-Townshend's medals (1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals contained in a contemporary leather-covered, glazed display frame, nearly extremely fine) were sold at auction for an unknown price.

A record of his death is reported in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on the 5th August, 1915: "Second-Lieutenant Ferdinand Marsham-Townsend, Scots Guards, of 5, Chesterfield Street, Mayfair, who owned Polygamist, who won the Haydock Park Handicap last year, who was killed in action at Festubert, France, on the 16th May last, youngest son of the late Hon. Robert Marsham-Townsend, and grandson of the second Earl of Romney (net personalty £43, 895)."

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Apollo University No. 357 E.C.Oxfordshire

12th February 1901
30th April 1901

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-11-20 17:35:05