CAPTAIN MARCUS HERBERT GOODALL
YORK AND LANCASTER REGIMENT
14TH JULY 1916 AGE 21
BURIED: PUCHEVILLERS BRITISH CEMETERY, FRANCE
Marcus Goodall's inscription is a modification of the one on the obelisk "erected by their comrades in memory of the NCOs and Troopers of the Imperial Light Horse" who were killed in the Battle of Waggon Hill, South Africa on 6 January 1900.
Tell England, ye who pass this monument
We, who died serving her, rest here content.
The epitaph is based on one said to have been written by Simonides, which according to Heroditus marked the graves of the Spartans who fell with Leonidas at Thermopylae in 480 BC:
O passer by, tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here obeying their orders.
[Mackail The Greek Anthology 1906].
William Lisle Bowles had translated the same epitaph in 1833 as,
Go tell the Spartans, thou that passest by
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.
In 1856 Ruskin likened the English dead of the Crimean War to the Spartan dead of Thermopylae and suggested that the message they would have wanted sent home was, "Oh stranger, go and tell the English that we are lying here, having obeyed their words".
The Imperial Light Horse epitaph was said to have been written by the English born South African politician Edmund Garrett. A version of the epitaph certainly appears as one of his memorial verses in his memoir, but the words aren't the same,
Tell England, you that pass our monument,
Men who died serving Her rest here, content.
Ernest Raymond published his best-selling novel, Tell England, based on the Gallipoli campaign, in 1922. Many war cemeteries had yet to be contructed so there was time enough for the book to have an influence on the choice of headstone inscriptions. Simonides' epitaph, in Raymond's own translation, is used on a grave marker. Edgar Doe and Rupert Ray have gone searching for the grave of their friend and come across it unexpectedly.
"His name stood on a cross with those of six other officers, and beneath was written in pencil the famous epitaph:
Tell England, ye who pass this monument,
We died for her, and here we rest content.
The perfect words went straight to Doe's heart.
"Roop," he said, "if I'm killed you can put those lines over me."
I fear I could not think of anything very helpful to reply.
"They are rather swish," I murmured."
Marcus Goodall made friends with Siegfried Sassoon in the spring of 1916 whilst on an Army training course at Flixecourt and, after Goodall's death, Sassoon wrote an unpublished elegy to him, Elegy to M.G., which can be found in his notebook for 26 June to 8 Aug. 1916. Goodall makes an appearance as Lieutenant Allgood in Sassoon's 'Memoirs of an Infantry Officer'. Although the book is a fictional memoir there is no reason to think that the portrait of Allgood/Goodall is not an acurate one.
"Allgood was quiet, thoughtful, and fond of watching birds. We had been to the same public school, though there were nearly ten years between us. He told me that he wanted to be a historian, and I listened respectfully while he talked about the Romans in Early Britain, which was his favourite subject. ... Allgood never grumbled about the war, for he was a gentle soul, willing to take his share in it, though obviously unsuited to homicide. But there was an air of veiled melancholy on his face, as if he were inwardly warned that he would never see his home in Wiltshire again. A couple of months afterwards I saw his name on one of the long lists of killed, and it seemed to me that he had expected it."