Marcus Braden Dukes (1893-1936)

From time to time readers request me to try to locate and photograph the graves of their long departed relatives who died in Malaysia. I am happy to assist, though they are often hard to find, particularly those in the sprawling Cheras Road Christian Cemetery in Kuala Lumpur which has no database of who is buried where. To make my job easier I have taken photos of any headstones that I come across with European sounding names, in case I get asked for them in future. (I have not covered those with Chinese or Indian names because there are far too many and also because their descendants are more likely to be still in Malaysia and they can look for themselves).

One of the more eye-catching headstones spotted on my last trip to Cheras Road Cemetery is this one:

Marcus B Dukes 1893-1936

Thanks to the wonders of the internet we know something about Mr. Dukes.

He was born in Bridgwater, Somerset in 1893. He was the son of a clergyman, Rev. Edwin Joshua Dukes and his wife, Edith Mary (maiden name Pope) who was a gifted scholar.

Marcus had distinguished brothers, most notably Sir Paul Dukes KBE who was Chief of the British Intelligence Service in Russia and known as the Man of a Hundred Faces due to his talent for disguises. Interestingly, Paul was one of the first to introduce yoga to the western world.

Marcus came to Malaya in 1913 as an assistant on a rubber estate. At the time of his death was serving as Co-operative Marketing Officer (also related to rubber). Aside from work, he was District Commissioner of the Selangor Boy Scouts Association, which probably explains the headstone, and a member of the FMS Volunteer Regiment. He was a prominent Freemason and an Elder of the Presbyterian Church in Kuala Lumpur.

Though only 43, he had been sick for some time and died following an operation at Bangsar Hospital. He was survived by a wife and three children.

What does the letter “C” stand for on his headstone? Something to do with the scouts perhaps? Coincidentally, his brother Paul had been recruited into the secret service by Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the first “C” of MI6.

11 thoughts on “Marcus Braden Dukes (1893-1936)”

  1. Thanks for this. We have just returned from KL and went to Cheras Christian Cemetery to specifically find this grave as Marcus Dukes was my Grandfather. We also were wondering what the C stood for and plan to do some further research.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you didn’t mind me prying into your family history. Good luck with your C research. If you find out anything interesting and would like to share it I would be fascinated to hear from you.


    2. That would make us very distant relatives. The family tree is actually very well documented all the way back to the 1700’s. My grandparents have the full tree as well as a bunch of other historical items trophies, WWI photos, books, etc. I’m descended from the part of family that moved to New Zealand in the 1890-1900’s, but I’m American.

  2. Hi, I don’t mind at all it was great that somebody had noticed him so far from home, they were a very interesting family as well as Paul who you mention, their was Cuthbert who devised the classification for bowel cancer which is still used within medicine to this day and Ashley who was a playwright and married to Marie Rambert of the Rambert Ballet company. I have asked about the C on the grave and it is thought to stand for Commissioner and the stars are his rank of Commissioner (all to do with scouting). Regards Wendy

  3. Hi Wendy,
    I’m a researcher on Singapore and Malayan scout history. Could u contact me as I want to share more info about Mr Dukes with you.
    Best regards,
    Meng Hao

  4. The “C” on his headstone denotes Commissioner.
    This was the Commissioner Scout Badge in used during the pre-war period.
    For your information.

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