(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Geoffrey was born between October and December 1883 in St Asaph, in Denbighshire, North Wales. His father was named Edward and his mother was Sarah. Geoffrey was one of 8 children. Edward, Marion, Charles, Harry and Maggie were older, whilst Alfred and Richard were younger.
In 1891 the family lived at Common Cottage in Hatfield near Leominster, Herefordshire. Edward was a Gamekeeper. Ten years later Geoffrey had begun to work as an Under Gamekeeper and the family lived at Crossblethin in Itton, near Chepstow in South Wales.
Between January and March 1909 Geoffrey married Jennett Bailey in Neath, near Swansea. The couple went to live at Wern's Cottage near Hay in Breconshire, South Wales. The couple had two daughters; Margaret was born in 1910, and Jenny in 1913.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and hundreds of thousands of men joined the Army. Geoffrey did not join them until July or August 1916, when he joined the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force. We don't know whether Geoffrey joined it voluntarily or if he was conscripted. By this point in the war it was not unusual for soldiers to be assigned to units with no connection to their local area. Geoffrey was given the service number 6152.
Geoffrey was assigned to the second 8th Battalion (2/8th). This unit was sent to France in February 1917. The next month soldiers serving in Territorial Force units were given new service numbers. The 8th Battalion was allocated the range 300001 to 350000. Geoffrey was given 302343.
We know very little about what Geoffrey did in France and Belgium. The 2/8th Battalion was stationed around Ypres, now Ieper, in Belgium, and in September 1917 prepared to take part in the offensive known as the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele.
This attack began in early October in terrible conditions. Mud covered fields turned into swamps under torrential rain; and this was before the Germans began to fight back. The main offensive was scheduled to begin on the 9th October, but Geoffrey would not take part in it. He was wounded and died on the 6th October. He was 32 years old.
Geoffrey is one of the 1573 soldiers buried in the Nine Elms British Cemetery in West Vlaanderen, Belgium. His grave reference is II. E. 14. Margaret died in 2003.