William was born in 1898 in London, the son of William Marshall and Elizabeth Mary Earwood. William and Elizabeth had a second child in London, a daughter Elsie Jane born in December1899.

In 1900/1901 William and Elizabeth returned to William’s birthplace and the Census of 1901 sees them with their two children William and Elsie living on William’s parents farm Little Skewes. His parents are Marshall and Jane Blake.

The Census of 1911 shows William Marshall with his parents farming at Kernich. William is with his sister Elsie and there are two further siblings Thomas Clifford (born 1902) and Dorothea Augusta (born 1910).

William enlisted on the 26 February 1917 into the Royal Navy at Devonport, the same day as his friend James James. His Navy number was K41463. He served first on HMS Vivid II from enlistment until 13 June 1917 and then from 16 September to 9 December 1917.

William Marshall Harry Blake, 1917

Vivid II was a shore based section within Devonport for stokers and engine room artificers training.

Royal Navy barracks, Devonport in the 1900’s. Vivid II was located here

HMS Actaeon was also shore based and originally established under the name of HMS Vernon in 1876 as the Royal Navy’s Torpedo Branch later to be termed Torpedo School.

Within this establishment, several old vessels, referred to as ‘hulks’, were used and their names were frequently changed. In 1904 the vessel Ariadne was sent to Sheerness to be used to establish a new torpedo school. Ariadne was renamed Actaeon in 1905.

Actaeon, part of the Sheerness Torpedo School

At the outbreak of War Actaeon was used to carry out torpedo trials and to train new recruits. Extensive research and development took place to improve and develop new anti-submarine devices, mines and ships electrics.

William married Clarice Stephanie Williams in 1928. They had three children, Mervyn (born 1932), Josie (born 1933) and Valerie (born 1937). Sadly, Clarice passed away in 1938.

The 1939 Register shows William, as a widow, farming at Tredale, Tregunna, St Breock with his three children.

In 1951, William married Alma King. They had several years together until Alma passed away in June 1972.

William himself, had a long life and died aged 93 in 1991.

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