Lieutenant Raymond Asquith

Raymond Asquith, born on 6 Nov 1878, was the elder son of British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith but a brilliant intellectual and barrister. He was a member of the Edwardian Coterie and graduated with first class honours from Balliol. He was a junior Counsel on the North Atlantic Fisheries Arbitration investigating the sinking of the Titanic. Great things were expected of him but his rise was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. He was initially commissioned, on 17 December 1914, as a second lieutenant into the 16th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment. He was transferred to the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, on 14 August 1915 and assigned as a staff officer, but he requested to be returned to active duty with his battalion, a request granted before the Battle of the Somme. While leading the first half of 4 Company in an attack near Ginchy on 15 September 1916, at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, he was shot in the chest and died while being carried back to British lines. He was buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery.

In July 1907 he was married to Katharine Frances Horner a notable hostess and patron of the arts, especially the Pre-Raphaelites and John Singer Sergeant. She lived until 1976 but also lost her brother in the First World War. They had 4 children, one of whom died in his teens. Their surviving son was Julian Edward George Asquith, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Asquith who died in 2011. There were two daughters, Lady Helen Asquith and Lady Perdita who married Lord Hylton.

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by Stephen Luscombe