© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
5 Martin Viner Pollock
Lieutenant: 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers
Martin Viner Pollock was born at 74 Queens Gate, Kensington, West London on Tuesday 15th May
1888 and baptised at the Holy Cross Church, Avening on Monday the 6th of August 1888. He was
the son of Robert Erskine Pollock (barrister and later KC) and Mary Viner Pollock (née Playne).
His mother Mary was the daughter of Frederick Carl Playne, who was born at Avening Court in 1837,
a professional soldier who died in Canada when Mary was just three months old. She inherited the
estate on her father's death and dedicated the East window of Avening Church to her father's
memory in 1889.
At the time of the 1891 census, Martin was with his family as visitors at an address in Shrewsbury,
Shropshire and in the 1901 census was listed as a boarder at Rottingdean Preparatory School,
Sussex. He entered Eton College in 1901 at the age of 13, leaving in July 1906 when he commenced
his further education at Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied Law.
On completion of his studies he was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1910 and later served
on the Oxford Circuit.
He was given a commission in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the South Wales Borderers on the 15th
of August 1914.
His mother had died in 1910 and he was with his unit in England when he learnt of the death of his
brother, Frederick, killed in action at Ypres in October 1914 and of his father in February of 1915.
He later transferred to the 2nd Battalion and left for the front in March 1915 with two other officers
and 50 other ranks joining the remainder of the battalion from Le Havre on the 10th.
By the 9th of May his unit was occupying the reserve trenches at Rue Du Bois whilst the front
trenches was manned by the Munsters and Gloucesters both of whom attacked the enemy lines
and received very heavy casualties. The vacated trenches now had to be reinforced and the South
Wales Borderers were ordered to fill them. It was at this vulnerable time that the enemy artillery
fire, which up to that time had been concentrating on No Man's Land, was switched to the British
trenches. Martin Pollock was one of the 233 Borderers killed during this bombardment.
He would have celebrated his 27th birthday six days later.
He was unmarried. He is buried at the Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery, Souchez and his grave is tended by
the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and
the British Medal, which his relatives would have received in 1922.
He is remembered on his parents’ grave in Avening churchyard.