“Most Commanding Officers are either respected or admired or popular or even all three, but very few are as beloved by their Regiment as Colonel Marcus,”
So the Regimental Journal of April 1964; what can one add to these words and to the Colonel of the Regiment’s admirable valedictory at Colonel Marcus’ memorial service! A few personal words, perhaps: we had known each other for over 40 years, since I joined the Regiment, in fact, He had handed command over to me, in 1963; in turn, I handed over to him as Colonel of the Regiment in 1975- and I am proud to think that we were great friends.
Who is the happy warrior? Who is he That every man in arms should wish to bet.
I thought of using Wordsworth’s poem as a text; but though the first two lines are fine, the rest is not, Marcus was, above all, a happy warrior; one could never be with him for very long, no matter how sober the occasion without humour breaking in. He had an irrepressible gaiety, which even the most
pompous could not long resist.
He had the most charming manners. He wasn’t just courteous to women, or instantly friendly to newly joined, somewhat lonely young officers he turned the game warm upon generals and troopers alike and all of them knew that it was perfectly genuine.
He had the gift of courage, of course, not just the courage that earned him his MC in the Desert, but, the courage that called him to bear the long years of pain from the accident that dislocated both his hips, to his death last year, I saw him in the German hospital soon after the crash, and several times in hospital in England; I have never admired him more. In all that time I never once heard him complain.
Beloved by the Regiment he certainly was but beloved too by many more outside it, as the packed church on the 27th of July testified.
Of few men can one truly say that one “never heard a word against him”; of Marcus I never did.
But if we loved him, he loved us, he loved his family, his Regiment and his friends and all of us more than himself. Thank God for him; and may he rest in peace, for he died on 20 June 1984.