John Marsh C.B.E. - The OldWinburnians

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John Marsh C.B.E.

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In 1968 John Marsh "had the privelege of making the speech at the new school in Pamphill and my wife gave the prizes".
His career at the school had started in 1926. His parents had business in the Far East, which explains the first mention of him found in the school mag: in no. 49 January 1927 he is quoted as singing a Chinese song at the dinner of the Literary and Debating Society. One would like to have heard that! Later the same year he qualified in swimming by going 50 yds in the Leaze. He was not alone at school, his twin brother H J and he took part in another debate "that animals should not be kept in captivity", he for, his brother against. A quite unusual event was laid on: the whole school assembled to thrash out whether they would prefer to have school on Saturday morning with Wednesday half-day, or else have all Saturday off and work Wednesday afternoon. On that occasion, John spoke for the boarders.

On leaving they both started as apprentices at the Austin Motor Co in Longbridge. In a sign of things to come, in a couple of years he is made supervisor of all 250 apprentices.

He joined up and was evacuated with his unit from Dunkirk. Later he is gazetted as Captain in the RASC, with no. 515 column RASC of the 1 st London Division. He was posted to the Far East, and was captured at Singapore, having to work in desperate conditions on the Burma Railway. He discovered that another prisoner was Old Winburnian Ken Porter. They frequently reminisced about good times in Wimborne to keep up their morale.

At the end of the war he was briefly in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, UNRRA's,  mission to Albania.

1946 finds him attending the OWA re-union and taking the Chair. He proved to be a very able master of ceremonies at the smoking concert held in the dining room of the King's Head on the Friday evening.

In 1950 he was  chosen to become Director of the Industrial Welfare Society. Concerned with the conditions under which workers were employed, this enabled him to strongly influence workplace practises and produce improvements which are now taken for granted. In 1961 he was appointed Director of the British Institute of Management. John Marsh is given great credit for the international reputation that the Institute gained, especially among Commonwealth countries where he introduced or assisted similar societies. At the same time he travelled a lot for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Overseas Development Administration to promote managerial expertise.  His CBE was awarded in 1967.

He left behind some notable books, including People at Work 1957 and Ethics in Business 1970.

He passed away in 1992.

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