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John French

Captain John Geldard RMLI

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John French

I am updating a brief biography of Captain Geldard as part of a commemoration of the 30 men listed on the Great and Little Chesterford war memorials.  I have a lot of information on his pre-war and WW1 career, including his involvement with HMS Euralus in the landings at Cape Helles and the evacuation from ANZAC Beach during the Gallipoli campaign, but I have two questions which I hope that GWF experts can give me guidance:

 - He was awarded the the Italian Order of the Crown, Bronze Medal for Military Valour (reported in the London Gazette in November 1917), but I am unaware of any Italian involvement in the Gallipoli Campaign.  He served on HMS Doris in 1916/17, but don't know whether he was in action with that ship.  Any ideas why he might have been awarded an Italian decoration?

 - He died of influenza on 20/8/1918 after a short illness in the Burlington Hotel, Cork Street, London of pneumonia (possibly Spanish Flu) while on active service with HMS Lord Nelson.  Was the Burlington Hotel an over-spill for a military hospital or was he merely treated there while on Naval business?

 

John

Geldard -  Royal Naval Officers deaths.jpg

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horatio2

The award was for services at the "Dardanelles 1915-16" per ADM 171/172 (Foreign awards) at Kew. The exchange of medals between allies nations rarely reflected any firm connection to the awarding nation.

He probably fell ill while staying at the Burlington Hotel. The Spanish Flu pandemic had not yet hit UK - the deadly wave hit in October 1918 - so his death may not be flu-related.It is not clear why he was in London. LORD NELSON was in the Aegean.

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