Ogbourne St Andrew Parish History Group

        Ogbourne St Andrew, Maisey & Rockley
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Bill Marshall 1918 - 2005    “You Win Some, You Lose Some”  
Wiliam C Marshall (Bill) was Born in 1918 and brought up in Sussex in a rural setting, finding his life’s interest in horses.  He had his first pony when five years old and raced his first Point to Point at twelve.  Running away from home at the age of fourteen, he sailed on a tramp steamer for four years, eventually jumping ship in Australia in 1932 having visited South America, South Africa and India.  In Australia he successfully raised and trained horses, but moved to South Africa (again jumping ship) in 1936.  After one trip on a whaling ship to replenish his finances he found work as a supervisor in a gold mine.  With horse racing close to the mine, he made money to buy, train and race horses.  He bought a second hand Tiger Moth and effectively taught himself how to fly.

At The outbreak of war in 1939, at the age of twenty two and after fitting a long range tank to the Tiger Moth, he flew the 6,000 miles solo to England in eight days. Refuelling wherever possible on British or friendly territory he reached England only to have the Tiger Moth requisitioned.  In 1940 Bill joined the Royal Air Force, rapidly moving to fly Spitfires and Hurricanes in combat.  He was credited with six enemy aircraft shot down, together with five V1’s (Flying Bombs).  One episode highlights Bill’s skill (and bravado) - setting out to impress a girlfriend, he flew his Spitfire under Marlow bridge (with a clearance of only inches).  An air commodore who was present wasn’t amused and it was only by the exigences of war that Bill escaped a court martial or grounding.  In all he flew twenty three different types of aircraft during the war, was shot down twice (in one case taking six weeks to escape with help from the Resistance via Spain), was mentioned in despatches and awarded the DFC.

After the war Bill spent four years as a jump jockey until, in 1950 he began his highly successful career as a trainer, becoming the only man to have trained horses on four continents.  His connection with Ogbourne Maisey started in 1966 when he took over Bonita stables from Gordon Richards.  Ideal for Flat training the stables and house were rented from Mrs Laye.  In his first year at Bonita he gained 19 winners from 33 runners and in 1969 alone had a total of 33 winners.  His stay at Maisey only lasted five years, since in 1970 William Hill (owner of the eponymous company) made him an offer he couldn’t refuse to become his private trainer.  Involved in a serious light aircraft crash in 1972 (Bill was a passenger), he moved in 1975 to train at Newmarket, forcing the Jockey Club to radically upgrade the facilities there.  
His final period as a trainer started in 1981 when Bill and his wife moved to Barbados where for the next 22 years he ran a world renowned training establishment, becoming one of the most important figures in that country's horse racing industry.  Specific successes were:
·        Seven times winner of the Barbados Gold Cup
·        Twenty-two Barbadian Triple Crown races
·        Champion Trainer eleven times
·        trained Coo Bird who won more races than any other Barbadian horse.
·        Awarded the Barbadian Silver Crown of Merit.  
At the time of his death in 2005 at the age of eighty-seven Bill was still active in racing and his horses were still winning.
(see biography:  You Win Some, You Lose Some   Bill & Pam Marshall 2003  - with additional information ex Wikipedia)
April 2022
copyright Ogbourne St Andrew History Group 2022
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