Friday 1 August 2014

John Marshall, 1931-2014

We are saddened to hear of the passing of ex-Accies captain, John Marshall, on Saturday 26th July, at the age of 82.

John Hannah Marshall played in an era when The Accies were a dominant force in Scottish club rugby and was part of the legendary Accies team that won the Unofficial Championship in 1955-6, where his skillful hooking (now a lost art) was one of the keys to that success.


Accies 1st XV - Winners of The Unofficial Championship 1955-6

Back: CF Sleigh, JM Barber, RW Meikle, JH Marshall, J Forrest, S Coughtrie, JDL Fairbairn. Middle: T McClung, KW Paterson-Brown, RI Marshall, MTR Marwick (c), HG Hay, DJ Marshall, MJ Sands Front: HMA Rowan, JA Simson

He was one of three brothers - John, David and Robin - who played together and were all important players for the Club during the mid-1950s to the early-1960s.

John captained the Club during its Centenary Season 1957/58 and was captain of The Academicals XV that played The International XV to celebrate that centenary, where he played alongside his brothers and legends such as Douglas Elliot, Stan Coughtrie, Gilbert and Tommy McClung, Brian Neill, Hamish Inglis, Tony O'Reilly, Rex Willis, Tom Elliot, Jim Greenwood, Clem Thomas and French star Jean 'Monsieur Rugby' Prat. The Academicals won 24-12.

John' s father, RI Marshall, had captained the Club in the 1921/22 season and his brother, Robin (RI Marshall Jnr), was Club captain in 1956/57 before being replaced by John - the only instance of father and two sons captaining the Club in its long history.

John represented Edinburgh and was in the Accies VII that played in the Middlesex Sevens at the end of the Centenary season.

In Accies' very successful 1959/60 season, as vice-captain and pack leader, John built a pack that lacked dominating physique and authority into a very serviceable unit - during the season he declined a place in the Edinburgh XV to play for the Club against Gala - the measure of the man's committment to the Club.

Towards the end of his career John was part of an Accies XV that in 1961/62 was second in the championship for the third year running. That team travelled to Ebbw Vale and took away their unbeaten home record as well as beating Wasps and Cambridge University. One English newspaper rated that Accies team as 'one of the best six sides in the British Isles'.

In addition to his rugby prowess, John was a fine golfer and cricketer. He was an erstwhile member of The Edinburgh Academicals' Cricket Club, The British Rugby Club of Paris (Scottish Section), The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Luffness New Golf Club and (latterly) The Senior Golfers' Society.

John will will be sadly missed by all who knew him and the Club would like to extend its sincere condolences to John’s family and friends.

A service will be held at Mortonhall Crematorium Main Chapel on Tuesday 5th August at midday and afterwards at Swanston Golf Club to which all family and friends are invited. Family flowers only please, but donations, if desired, may be made to a collection on retiral for Myeloma UK.


From the Archive