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Sir Edward Howard Marsh (18 November 1872 – 13 January 1953), born to Professor Howard Marsh of Downing College, Cambridge, was a Britishmarker polymath, translator, arts patron and civil servant. He was the sponsor of the Georgian school of poets and a friend to many individuals, including Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon. In his career as a civil servant he worked as Private Secretary to a succession of Great Britainmarker's most powerful ministers, particularly Winston Churchill.

Career as a Civil Servant

Edward Marsh (standing) together with Winston Churchill during an African journey in 1907.


In 1896 he was appointed Assistant Private Secretary to Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary. When Chamberlain resigned in in 1903, Marsh became private secretary to his successor, Alfred Lyttelton. When Winston Churchill became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1905 during Henry Campbell-Bannerman's first Government, Marsh became Churchill's Private Secretary, beginning an association and friendship that would last through Marsh's death. Marsh would be Churchill's Private Secretary for the next ten years, until Churchill left the Government in 1915. As Randolph Churchill put it, from December 1905, "Marsh was to accompany Churchill to every Government department he occupied: to the Board of Trade, the Home Office, the Admiralty, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Ministry of Munitions, the War Officemarker, back to his original Colonial Office and the Treasury." These moves were somewhat irregular as Marsh remained, until 1937, officially a clerk at the Colonial Office, but many exceptions were made, possibly at cost to Marsh's official advancement.

When Churchill left government for the first time in 1915, Marsh became Assistant Private Secretary to Prime Minister Henry Asquith, in which position he would serve until the fall of Asquith's government in December, 1916. When Churchill returned to government as Minister of Munitions in 1916, Marsh joined him there as Private Secretary and worked in that position, through successive departments, until the fall of David Lloyd George's Coalition Government in 1922. When Churchill became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924, Marsh joined him there as Private Secretary and remained at the Treasury until the fall of Stanley Baldwin's second government in 1929, when Marsh was returned to work at the Colonial Office. He then served as Private Secretary to every Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1929 until his retirement in 1937.

Literary career

A classical scholar and translator, Marsh edited five anthologies of Georgian Poetry between 1912 and 1922, and he became Rupert Brooke's literary executor, editing his Collected Poems in 1918. He was also a consistent collector and supporter of the works of the avant-garde artists Mark Gertler, Duncan Grant, David Bomberg and Paul Nash, all of whom were also associated with the Bloomsbury Group. In addition to his work editing Churchill's writing while the latter was in or out of government, Marsh introduced Siegfried Sassoon to Churchill as a means of aiding the former's career. He was also a close friend of Ivor Novello. In 1939, he produced A Number of People, a memoir of his life and times containing his memories of those writers and politicians with whom he had associated.

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References

  • Eddie Marsh — Sketches for a Composite Literary Portrait (1953)
  • Edward Marsh by Christopher Hassall (1959)
  • Gilbert, Martin.Winston S. Churchill: The Challenge of War 1914-1916.(c) 1971 C&T Publications, Ltd.
  • Gilbert, Martin.Winston S. Churchill: The Stricken World 1916-1922.(c) 1975 C&T Publications, Ltd., etc.



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