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The Purvis Family Genealogy Pages John Purvis  

M-1.1.3.1.1.6.8.1.

Claude Cunningham Bruce (Bruce) Marshall


CLAUDE CUNNINGHAM BRUCE MARSHALL (BRUCE), born 24th June 1899 at 8 East Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, Scotland, died 18th June 1987 at Antibes, France. Prolific author and novelist, writing under the name Bruce Marshall, whose books covered a wide range of topics: religious themes, espionage, thrillers, historical novels and satire. Educated at Edinburgh Academy and Glenalmond, Perthshire (1909-1915), he went (1916) up to St Andrews University to read classics. His novel 'A Thread of Scarlet ' (1959) has echoes of his time there. However his studies were interrupted by World War I and he forsook his degree, joining the Royal Irish Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant. Shortly before the armistice (1918) he was wounded, rescued by courageous German medical orderlies under intense shelling and taken prisoner, subsequently losing a leg because of poor treatment. This caused him much pain in his later years. After the war he took up his studies, gaining a B.Comm. and MA degree from Edinburgh University and qualifying as an accountant (Scottish Academy of Accountants) (1926). He then moved to Paris, where he worked as an accountant with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell (1926 – June 1940). During this time he began writing, using many of his own experiences as background for his novels – eg 'The Bank Audit', one of the most technical of all financial novels. He converted to Roman Catholicism and several of his books had religious themes and even criticised the church - "Father Malachy's Miracle" (1931), "The Thread of Scarlet" (1959), 'Father Hilary's Holiday' (1966), "The Bishop" (1970). He was sometimes called 'the licensed jester of the Roman Catholic Church'. He returned to England in 1940 and rejoined the army. At first he was assigned to the Royal Army Pay Corps, but then transferred to Intelligence, where his perfect French and knowledge of France made him an important figure in the London headquarters of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). After the war he served as a Lieutenant Colonel on the Allied Control Commission for Austria dealing with displaced persons. Two novels were inspired by this brush with bureaucracy - "The Red Danube" (1947), later made into a film, and "A Girl from Lubeck" (1962). One of his best known post-war novels was "George Brown's Schooldays" (1946), a blunt update of Tom Brown's Schooldays and based on his time at Glenalmond. He received widespread acclaim with "The White Rabbit" (1952), an unsparing and shocking account of the experiences of Wing Commander F.F.E. Yeo-Thomas, a British agent in France, who was captured and tortured by the Gestapo. In all he wrote over 40 novels and full length books as well as short stories. Most were published by Constables in London, New York and Boston. He was awarded the Wlodimierz Petrzak Prize, Warsaw, Poland, in 1959. In 1938 he was living at 16 Garscube Terrace, Edinburgh, and 1 Square Jasmin, Paris. In 1940 he was at the Clarendon Hotel, Grosvenor Street, Edinburgh, when informed of his father's death. He lived the last 20 years of his life in the South of France, living latterly at Clos Riant, 104 Boulevard du Cap, Antibes. Married (1928) Mary Pearson Clark (Phyllis),(born 8th August 1908, died 22nd August 1987), daughter of William Glen Clark (died before 1938) of Edinburgh, having one daughter:-

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