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Remembered Today:

Geoffrey Watkins Smith - 13th Rifle Brigade, kia 10/7/16


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I might, in fact I could, say something on that score. Once I remember his mentioning that he had suddenly felt in the night a strange spiritual sensation of blank, nothingness, emptiness, but had realized that it was of course only due to physical causes, over fatigue or indegestion: once I remember his speaking, as if with knowledge, of the power of the brain to control the brain in attacks of mental excitement: once I remember in recent years his admitting a certain degree of exhaustion after an unusually busy term: once I remember a sort of protest against our assertion that it was easy work for him to learn, and anyway that if it wasn't, then he liked hard work: once I remember seeing him momentarily distressed as if he had unwittingly found the door to some small secret embarrassment: and I think that is all. Not much: just a guess here and an inference there; to dwell on these points and magnify them would I honestly believe be misleading. I could go on and say that he had a tooth out in Naples and subsequently fainted in a restaurant; and to be sure the ordinary mischances of human life must have occured to him as to other people, only in point of fact they hardly ever did seem to occur, and at any rate they left no scar. Or was it, after all, that amongst his many happy faculties he had the specially happy one for not making an unecessary fuss ? That also is quite likely. However, I am writing down my own strongest impressions; let others write down theirs.

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I come back to him in Mrs. Robinson's room, and I seem to see all at once that the word which Humphrey Milford puts first in his letter to my father covers most of the ground I have been treading - simplicity. There he sat, simple posture, simple looks, simple talk. It is of course the simplicity of genius. Mrs. Robinson talks cleverly and laughs a good deal and we are set laughing too at her naiete. It is a dull day looking out through the window. Geoff. listens and thinks, and listens and laughs, and every now and then asks a question or gives an answer, or begins slowly with hesitation to broach some aspect of her husband's case carefully considered; for example, whether he should take his stripe or remain officer's servant. In the pauses I wondered if I ought to say anything, but I said very little. Best to let Geoffrey think and lissten and laugh and halt in his own charming way. I could tell he was still thinking as we walked back to Enfield Station, and he seemed anxious for my opinion on this point and that. A curious glimpse of Geffrey taking trouble, what he so rarely had to take (things coming so easily) till 1914 changed life for us. But at the Station care departed. We were to go to the theatre, A Kiss for Cinderella; first, however, the important question, where should we lunch ? We walked up and down the deserted platform; it was beginning to rain again, but we were under cover. Where should we lunch ? I spoke of Hatchett's, where we had lunched together on one day of his previous leave - very nice indeed, little rooms, white paint, no end of mirrors, music in an adjoining apartment; and then there was Oddenino's, where we went with Janet and Marion on another day of that same leave; and there was Prince's, where we went with my mother before the Battalion set out to France. Hatchett's, Oddenino's, Prince's, all the same to me, all equally grand and gay and delightful. Geoffrey was obviously pleased and amused to find my inclination towards them all so strong, but if it really was the same to me, then perhaps he thought possibly he had a preference, and that was for Prince's. Frankly he had to confess he felt more at home there. Of course he would - the Prince for Prince's.

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"In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble."

Wisdom, iii (1)

Account of G.C. Siordet

When I said that I would try to write down something of the impressions that will always remain with me when I think of Geoffrey Smith I had little notion that I should find the thing so very difficult to do. If we truly love our friends, we love them generally, largely, and therefore not very clearly. The faults we see in them, or think we see in them, have certainly their own distinctness, chiefly because our perception of other people's faults so often depends on the extent to which they stimulate some corresponding or related imperfection in ourselves. But when we come to try to dissect and analyse the total impression of a true friend-ship we are at once confronted by something both too powerfully and to indefinitely felt to be capable of adjustment to the ordinary use of words. We may describe a person as having this or that quality, just as we may describe him as having blue eyes or a clear complexion: but in one case we convey our impression more or less accurately, in other words are but the barest form of suggestion, and the true secret lies for ever between the man and his friend.

(1) I should like these words from the Book of Wisdom to be printed at the top: rather selfishly, because no one but I will really know their significance in his connexion; but in the last moments, before he was hit, while he was running down the line, and came into the shell-hole where I was, he did "shine" with all the grace and keeness of excitement and concentration.

From a letter of G.C. Siordet's

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In the case of Geoffrey Smith this is peculiarly true: for he was of a rare nature that gave itself freely to those around him, and yet seemed to make to each one a lovely and particular present of himself. And because this was a part of his character, natural,unconscious, a free gift, it never occured, it never should have occured, to any of us who knew him and cared for him to wish to keep his friendship jealously for ourselves. Here was God's plenty, enough for all: here was at once a bond of union and fellowship, a making straight of crooked paths, a store of mutual comprehensions and goodwill, nourished and maintained by the unconscious beauty of one single life.

All this is to speak vaguely; and our impression of him is not vague. Those who knew him and worked with him day by day will carry with them always a stream of happy, particular recollections, a world of jokes, and laughter, and enjoyment, to be entered at will, with never a sad or bitter memory to disturb it.

He had a keen sense of humour, and such sympathy with others as made the things that amused us amuse him also. He was an excellent, often a brilliant talker, with that power of going very quickly to the heart of his subject (even though it were not particularly his won) which differentiates the genius from the 'specialist'. He had that distrust and depreciation of dogmatic assertion which in him was the result, not merely of the delicate continuous, and sustained method of study on which his scientific life depended, but also of a conviction of the fluidity of all scientific investigation, and of the insufficiency of the human mind to draw a rigid line about the simplest appearances of natural things. He never spoke of scientific 'laws'.

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On the rare occasion when he would allow himself to talk seriously on those subjects with which his heart was most bound up, this humility made his conversation entirely delightful: not merely interesting, because it was obviously good; but because he treated his hearer as his fellow student, kept him in company, and made his own conversation 'as a field, without coming home to any man'. (1)

It must be confessed that the rest of us were grotesquely innocent of those things about which he knew so much; and I think we were on the whole wise for that reason in regarding his great attainments more often than not with the irresponsible levity of the foolish. He himself would have been the last person in the wrld to discourage us: and indeed we should all have missed many happy hours had we not irreverently allowed ourselves to regard the famouds Shrimp (2) as a tremedous and (for some reason only known to those as ignorant as ourselves) a highly entertaining joke. We used to ask very foolish questions and receive the most surprising answers: and I can remember once asking if a worm had a heart, and being told immediately that it had, I believe, five pairs.

Only a very careful observer could have detected, and no one perhaps could have estimated the deoth of his longing to get back to his real work. Of course we all hated soldiering: but with so much waiting to be done that he alone could do it must have been infinitely harder for him than for us to put real occupations on one side. (3)

(1) Bacon, of Discourse

(2) The Tasmanian Mountain Shrimp. Se letters from Tasmania.

(3) Yes, most emphatically. On the other hand, it was strange to us to see how his mind for the time being, as by magic, emptied itself of science and was filled with the business of war.

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He had a temper of perfect sweetness:

He never yet no vilienye ne sayde

In all his lyf unto no maner wight

He was a verray parfit gentil knight;

and with his sweetness of temper went as a metter of course an unvarying charm and courtesy of manner which made him seem always ready to listen to the opinion of others. I used to think sometimes that he was modest almost to excess, and I can remember more than one occasion on which he allowed his judgement to be overuled by persons far less competent by position or ability to decide rightly than himself. The trained habit of mind which he brought to bear upon his scientific researches led him to consider questions as far as possible in all their bearings. This produced, I think, something that occasionally bore the appearance of slowness of decision in small matters. In following out a point he would sometimes seem to fall into an abstraction, and leave a question unanswered; and I have known him to hesitate in the dictation of a message which, when delivered, seemed simple enough. But, as far as I can see, he seldom, if ever, arrived at a considered judgement that was wrong: and in not a few cases judgements which were not at the time in agreement with those of others were, in the event, proved to have been correct.

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You've probably seen this already ... but I came across this ..... different kind of photo !!

Geoffrey Watkins Smith - Born in England in 1883, killed in action on Somme 10 July 1916 (World War One). He was a Fellow and tutor at New College, Oxford University. In 1907 he arrived in Tasmania to study freshwater crustacea. He published papers on freshwater crustacea of Tasmania, freshwater crayfishes of Australia and a book entitled A Naturalist in Tasmania


Annie :)


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Hi Annie,

Sorry that I did not warn you of another memorial book coming up. Thank you, yes I had seen this. The book you mention was published by Clarendon Press in 1909, this is one of a list of 27 Scientific publications that Geoffrey was involved in, and 10 Studies in the Experimental Analysis of Sex that were published.


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There can surely have been no happier Mess in all the Companies of all the Battalions of the New Armies. The months came and went: the Battalion was extraordinarily lucky: the line was quiet, casualties very light. There were, of course, the ordinary discomforts and discontents: unpleasant winter months, difficulties of one sort or another, the routine of a Battalion in and out of the front line. We talked, and joked, and grumbled, and protested: and all the time, though I think no one ever consciously expressed it, we knew that we were happy really because we had him. And so the days went by till we had been together out of England for nearly a year.

Perhaps someone who reads this may want to know anything that there is to know about the last days. There is not that much to tell. I think it was on July 3 that we left the village (1) to which we used to come after each period of days in the trenches, our Mess Room with the little cheerful garden at the back, and the kind old lady whose home was our Head-quarters. We marched that day some ten miles south by west, and came to a halt in a little, straggling village with many trees and a pleasant stream.

(1) The 13th RB War Diary states that on 29/6/16 they were relieved in the trenches and went back to their billets in Bailleulval.

On the 3/7/16 the Battalion was ordered to move to Humbercourt.

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None of us knew what our destination might be, but each of us felt that after so long and comparitively easy a time it was likely that we should be called upon to take our part in the great offensive movement which had begun on the first of the month on the Somme. It was therefore no particular surprise when, on the eveing of the second day, July 5, we received orders to be ready to move off in motor omnibuses at a certain hour. We travelled all night, and **** passed the day in a small and infinitely unattractive village just off the high road. The men were put into such billets as could be found: and we ourselves, having got hold of a couple of tents, lay down in a field and slept. At 4.30 we received orders to fall in at 5 ready to march on. It was oppressively hot: the sky had grown dark; and as we moved off the clouds broke in heavy rain. In half an hour the storm had passed, and though the air was still heavy, the sky had lightened as we came at last over the brow of a hill ****.

That night we slept in a dismantled and once comfortable house. The men were in high spirits, billeted in a damaged and empty street: for most of the inhabitants had long left the town. Next morning we fell in at 9, and for the whole of that day, July 7, we waited in torrents of almost tropical rain on a wide, open space behind the last line of English trenches *****. All through the day prisoners and the wounded streamed past: all through the day the ring of guns behind and around us fired and fired. By 9.30 we were prepared to spend the night where we stood when we were ordered to occupy a portion of the old British front line, and marched off at 10. The line, when we got to it, was muddy and dilapidated: the rain, which had by now ceased, began to fall again during the night; and by the time morning came we were tired enough.

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13th RB war diary for this period reads as follows:-

4/7/16:- The battalion, Rapid fire excercises and kit inspection.

5/7/16:- Brigade Holiday observed. At 5 p.m. orders were received to be ready to move at once by motor buses to Bresle about 4 and a half miles W. of Albert. During the night of 5th-6th the movement was carried out, Bresle beingf reached at about 8 a.m. on the 6th. The Transport marched in during the afternoon.

6/7/16:- At 5 p.m. the Battalion received orders to march to billets at Albert to act as a reserve to the 56th Inf Bde to which it was temporarily attached. Billets in Albert were reached about 8 p.m.

7/6/16:- At 5 a.m. the Battalion was warned to hold itself in readiness to occupy the TARA - USNA line across the Albert - Bapaume Rd, about 1 mile NE of Albert. At 9 a.m. orders were received to reach this point at 10 a.m. The Battalion marched by platoons, the last coming into position at 11 a.m. The Battalion remained halted during the whole of the day. The bombardment of the enemy's lines was heavy and continuous from 5 a.m. reaching its greatest intensity about 7.30 a.m. when troops of the 19th Division and the corps on its right and left attacked the enemy's lines. The 13th Bn Royal Fusiliers made good progress to the W. of La Boisselle. The enemy's infantry with the exception of their machine guns made a very poor resistance, the Division in the course of the day sending in about 600 prisoners. Constant heavy rain storms fell during the day and the night following. At 8 p.m. the Battalion was ordered to move at 10.15 p.m. to relieve the 7th Loyal North Lancs Regt in the old British front line S. of La Boisselle about 100 yards in the rear of the great crater. The march was rendered slow and difficult by the state of the track and the fact that the whole of the Battalion had to move by one route in single file. H.Q. was not reached until after 1 a.m. - while crossing Tara Hill the column was shelled, "C" Company having 10 N.C.O.'s and men and 1 Officer wounded, "B" Company 1 man killed and one man wounded.

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Here we remained for the 8th and the 9th, a Sunday. During this time British troops were at varying distnces ahead of us pushing forward in one place or another. No one who has not seen the ground can appreciate the tenacity of the effot needed, over and above all artillery preparation, to clear the maze of German trenches confronting the English; and no one who has not seen that tragic place can appreciate the heroism of their sacrifice.

On the evening of the 9th orders came for us to relieve a Battalion in what was for the moment the front line of all. Guides were sent down during the night, and after a long and very difficult journey, during which I believe the Battalion had the luck to lose not a single man, we arrived at 2.30 in the morning in our position.

Dawn came: and then a hot, sunny day. Our own Company line was divided by a German light railway running in a shallow cutting: two of us were on the left of this cutting, Geoffrey and our third officer on the right. All was quiet through the morning; but about three in the afternoon an attack which did not develop as was expected was made by the Battalion immediately on our left. This led to a heavy bombardment of our trenches, and to consequent casualties which took up all one's attention.

In this way the afternoon wore on: and it was about 8.30, when I had got across the railway to see Geoffrey about getting some of the severe casualties down to the Dressing Station, that I found a Staff Officer in the trench bearing the orders to our Commanding Officer and his Battalion to deliver an attack on three lines of German trenches at 9.

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The rest can be shortly told. There was no time for any but the fewest possible words to Geoffrey: the attack was made with irreproachable gallantry and courage: the three lines were carried; and it was at the third line that we lost by the explosion of a shell him who was our delight and our joy.

The Battalion suffered severly *****. But our men had done as we knew they would do: they had behaved in a manner worthy of the Regiment whose name they bore; and they had carried out their orders.

Geoffrey Smith lies buried behind the line that his Company helped to take. 'Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us.'(1) We who knew him, who know him, and who remain, are greater than we were before: greater by so much of the fire of hope, desire, resolve, as has passed into our hearts from the pure sacrifice of a radiant life.

Grief should be,

Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate;

Confirming, cleansing, raising, making free;

Strong to consume small troubles; to commend

Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to the end. (2)

(1) Sir Thomas Browne: Urn Burial, Chap. V.

(2) Aubrey de Vere: Sorrow.

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I thought that at this stage in the story it might be an idea to place the account of the time talked of by G.C. Siordet from the Battalions unofficial story by D.H. Rowlands in a book called "For The Duration".

On July 5th, now in Humbercourt, miles away from the trenches, the Battalion received warning to move at short notice, and the same night, very late, we set of for the Somme. A fleet of buses stood waiting - good old London Generals - and into them we all clambererd, with equipment and rifles and rations, and newly acquired tin hats. It was tome now to say good-bye to trench warfare, at least for a saeson, and to reflect on the greater nightmare down in the south; but when some one asked, "Are We Downhearted ?" the whole bus load roared a mighty "No!" The man near the door appointed himself conductor as the engine started to throb.

"Do you stop at the Savoy Hotel ?" someone asked him.

"No Sir!" Came the quick reply. "Can't afford it! Did you say a tupenny, sir, and one for the child? Comes cheaper if you take a return!"

We joked and laughed, as our bus charged into the night, with gears groaning each time we mounted a hill: and then after a lull, too nerve-racking to be endured for long, a fellow started a tune on a mouth-organ, and all the passengers joined lustily in the singing of "Mademoiselle from Armentieres," "Fred Karno's Army," "If you were the only girl in the world," "I want to go home!" "Who were you with last night?" and all those other other songs in which British soldiers sought relief when threatened with attacks of nerves.

It was in this mood that men were going to the battle beyond, men mostly in the full bloom of youth, men who had joined up in 1914, some because the believed they were taking up a righteous cause, others in a sporting spirit as if war were only a game.

The hours of darkness were now speeding by, and one head after another began to nod as the bus rattled on and on. Presently a fair-haired lad stood up and shouted, "Look, boys, the dawn!" and out of the misty window, as we lurched round a corner, we saw to the east a cold, grey sky, overlaid with sullen clouds - clouds heavy with rain and a dark foreboding.

We were now reaching the end of our journey, the blood-bathed fields of the Somme.

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The Tragic Summer of 1916

It was July 6, and the Battle of the Somme was already in progress when we arrived that morning at Bresle, an uninviting village where we spent the remainder of the day. At five o'clock the same evening, now attached to the 19th Division, we set out for the line. We were soone marching up a steep bit of road, past a field battery halted for tea, and as we got to the top of the rise we saw long stretches of canvas fastened to plane-trees to hide the long procession of traffic from enemy observation; and then away to the North-East, the bursting of shells, till, after a time, we came to Albert, passing beneath the shattered cathedral tower from whose height the prone figure of the Virgin leaned sorrowfully over the town as if lamenting the folly of men. All that night, as we lay sleepless on the floord of deserted houses and shops, we listened to the rumble of limber wheels over cobbles and, in the distance, the endless drumming of guns.

Early next morning we were ordered to move forward, and after a hurried breakfast we started out for the Tara Usna ridge, about a mile up the Albert-Bapaume road. This was our position of assembly pending further instuctions, and there we stood all day in the rain watching the extraordinary scene near the top of that ridge, which was like some vast crowded fair-ground, far to right and left, and behind, the landscape was dotted with bivouacs and dumps, horse lines and batteries, cookers and watercarts, all mixed up with waiting infantry and gunners and cooks hard at work. Right in the midst of all this medley, French 75's were yapping like a million mad dogs, while the heavies added to the din, and British aeroplanes roared close overhead. As we watched, prisoners trudged by in large batches, all loooking dirty and dazed; parties of wounded toiled slowly towards the dressing stations, some limping along, others inert on stretchers, borne tenderly by Germans and Tommies alike; a demented British Officer darted by, hatless, waving his arms, and shouting something that none of us understood; and then a shell burst on a dump to the left, sending up a great spout of flames and smoke and flying fragments. This, we realized, was the Battle of the Somme, and as day passed into evening, we knew that some dreadful experience awaited us and thousands of others following on behind.

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At 10 o'clock that night we advanced to a new position. The track was over very difficult ground, and as we had to move along in single file our progress was painfully slow, but eventually after losing thirteen men killed or wounded by bursting shells, we reached the old British front line South of La Boiselle, with Contalmaison and Pozieres lying out in the darkness beyond. There the Battalion kept garrison, with no sort of communication established with the units supposed to be on our flanks.

We remained in this position for two nights and two days, whilst our casualty list mounted staedily. Some success attended our efforts to strengthen these trenches, but there were other jobs to be done, worst among them the burial of the dead of the last nine days. There they were, poor devils, score upon score of the Tyneside Scottish, some with their rifles still wearing bolt covers, so swiftly had death come to them. The great crater that yawned just in front of our line was made one vast tomb for these sturdy men from the North, but unfortunately the awful conditions prevented our burial parties from recovering the identity discs of the dead, and maybe some are still numbered among thos who lie unnamed in the blood-drenched soil of France.

Whilst some of the flower of England's youth were lying out there in No Man's Land, newspapers arrived with our mail, newspapers emblazoned with the theadlines that told of


Newspapers with pictures of laughing soldiers "waiting to go Over the Top." Masterpieces painted with a little printers' ink and a great deal of imagination !

On July 10th, a date memorable in the history of the 13th Rifle Brigade, we were in the front line a part of the 34th Division and the disposition of companies was

"D" Company on the left of the tramwayline with "C" Company in support

"A" Company on the right, with "B" Company in support.

Our position was heavily shelled during the day, and the casualty list grew in a few hours by another seventy killed or wounded.

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At 8.15 that evening word was passed along that the Battalion would launch an attack on the German trenches in half an hour's time, and rum was issued to all the troops, now standing by with the chin-straps of their steel helmets pulled taut and gas-masks in the "alert." Men glanced at one another, and with a brave smile many tried hard to conceal their reaction of the dreadful ordeal just announced. A middle-aged chap would say to his pal, "Cheero, mate! Hope it's a blighty for both of us!." While a young, chubby-faced fellow would start to talk about something which had nothing to do with the War.............

At last, exactly at 8.45, the C.O.'s whistle gave the signal, the trench bagan to empty, and with "D" and "A" Companies leading the way, men were moving towards the German line just as they did at High Wycombe and on Salisbury Plain. Shells were bursting all round, the shrapnel descending like rain, the high-explosive crashing and spouting up great black fountains of earth, while hidden machine-guns by the dozen poured out their pitiless streams of lead. The advancing lines of khaki were now being thinned at every yard, but the gaps filled up quickly and the dauntless survivors pressed on until at last they battered their way into the German trenches; then, with the position won at a frightful cost, came the news that the assault was all a mistake. "Attack Cancelled," said a message received by the Colonel, as he followed behind his men. So the order was given to retire, and all those who remained alive had to thread their way back again through a second inferno, over the dead, and over the wounded who had to be left behind.

Back in the trench from which the attack had begun, small squads of men were closing up to answer a hurried roll-call. Gradually more men drifted in, and the numbers of survivors increased; but alas! the total was still appallingly small. Some days afterwards, when the casualty lists were made up and all the hospitals had rendered their reports, the losses were assessed at 20 officers and 380 other ranks. The C.O. and the Adjutant had been wounded, the Second-in-Command was missing, three of the Company Commanders had been killed, while the fourth was on his way to the C.C.S.; the Medical Officer was dead, Acting R.S.M. Croutcher severely wounded, and whole platoons wiped out.

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The officers who took part in that valiant but fruitless adventure, from the Colonel down to the youngest Subaltern, were greatly admired by their men, and no unit of the British Army ever had a better conception of discipline, or a more profound experience of comradeship. It can be said truthfully of the officers who went into action on the Somme with the 13th Rifle Brigade, that they were al, soldiers and gentlemen, and those who died in the attack of the 10th July will be remembered with affection till the last of the riflemen who went Over the Top on that fatefull evening has himself been dismissed from Life's last parade. The death of such men as Major Sir Foster Cuncliffe and Capt. G.W. Smith was a severe blow to the world of learning as well as to the Battalion, for both had been distinguished scholars. Before the war, Capt. Smith was lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Comparitive Anatomy at Oxford, and his monographs dealing with his research expeditions to the Antipodes gained him a permament place in the records of Natural Science. Sir Foster Cuncliffe's diary, containing his last thoughts as he lay slowly dying in a shell-hole, was probably the most moving document ever recovered from the battlefield - almost as beautiful and poignant in it's phrasing as Scott's final message from the South Pole.

When the Battalion had returned from its terrible experience there came to the mind of each survivor a cynical and lasting impression of the true significance of modern warfare. Men stood in little groups, brooding on the tragedy and caring not what happened next. Many still wore an ashen-grey look, their eyes revealing a half-demented mind. More than one was pondering on the fate of a loved brother, perhaps still alive out there in some ditch filled with dead comrades.

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Colonel Pretor-Pinney, although wounded, remained in command until the last of the straggelrs came in, when he reluctantly agreed to go back to the big dressing station down in the town of Albert. There he remained for a time, a pathetic figure, that habitual calm of his changed into unchecked emotions, as with tears streaming down his face he kept repeating, "What a mess they've made of my Battalion !" Ever since 1914 he had watched the 13th Rifle Brigade steadily developing into a body of troops after the pattern of his days in the Regular Army, and his pride in their perfection was the greatest thing in his life. Behind his soldierly restraint he really loved his men, and the sacrifice of so many young lives in a futile operation ordered and then cancelled too late was to him the very abyss of calamity.

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Coming straight back to Geoffrey's Memorial book.

Warden Spooner's Address in New College Chapel, October 15, 1916.

........Geoffrey Smith was one of those bright and joyous spirits whose presence in any society seems to have shed happiness throughout it. Every one who came across him loved him; his vitality, his charm of manner, his many interests, his alertness of mind, made him the most delightful of companions. Never obtruding his views unnecessarily upon others, if asked his opinion he gave it directly, quietly and simply, and what he said was well said and was well worth listening to. As a teacher he was a very stimulating force, because he had the power of imparting to others that living interest in the branch of science to which he devoted himself which he himself so keenly felt. Owing to this he was able to lead his pupils alongs paths of investigation, research, and knowledge along which he securely trod, and became thus their helpful companion and guide in their advance towards truth. In his own special line of biological study he was an acknowledged master and pioneer, and seemed to possess that touch of genuine originality which is so rare and precious a gift. Therefore those best qualified to judge looked forward for him to a brilliant and ever-expanding career of scientific achievement, and hoped that in time he might take his place among the leaders of English science.

Into his military life he carried from the outset the same alertness of mind, thoroughness of grasp, and cheerful helpfulness which had distinguished his life here. All the details of his new service were of interest to him; he studied them and mastered them thoroughly. So he rose rapidly in his newly chosen profession, and became soon a man of mark among his contemporaries. At the same time his good comradeship and happy cheerfulness odf temper, his helpfulness and kindness of heart won him many friends, and made him a general favourite alike with his brother officers and with his men.......

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Extracts from Letters of Friends.

.........Nothing can compensate for such a loss, or lighten such a blow, except perhaps the knowledge that in his short life he had already done more than falls to the lot of most men ........Ever since I took him, while still a schoolboy, to see my uncle's collection at Norwood, I flet the greatest admiration for his keeness and ability, and watched his promising career with interest: so through his life at Oxford have many others. And now he is gone; but not without leaving an abiding mark upon the scientific records of this century.

It is so sad, but so noble.

Perhaps one ought to envy him, rather than lament his loss........

Professor Sir Henry A. Miers, F.R.S., Vice-Chancelloer of Manchester University.

He was a zoologist of most extraordinary ability, and one that did not lose his head like so many of the Mendelian enthusists have.

......I had known him ever since he was an undergraduate. I do not hesitate to say that his loss is not only a loss to the Empire but to the world....

Dr. A.E. Shipley, F.R.S., Reader in Zoology, Cambridge.

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Hi Marina,

I thought so, thats why I broke away from the book or the dry war diary accounts. This memorial book is laid out in a totally different way to a lot of the others. It gives what you have read so far and then goes into his letters that start when he was in Naples through to just before he was killed, but make interesting reading and gives you a good feel for the man that was Geoffrey.


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.........Here he was considered one of the most brilliant, accomplished, and lovable of the younger generation of Oxford dons. His loss to science will be felt as irreparable all the world over. But it is some real consolation to remember that, young as he was, he had already won a place in the first rank of zoologists, and was recognized as a leader in England in the subjects to which he devoted himself. You may be sure his name will not be forgotten, and his work will live and bear fruit........

E.S. Goodrich, F.R.S., Aldrichian Demonstrator of Comparative Anatomy, Oxford.

.........Your son Geoffrey had many warm friends, not only in his own University, but also at Cambridge, in London and elsewhere where his personal qualities were appreciated and his distinction as a Zoologist recognized. The war has brought us many losses, but your son was one of the best of those who have laid down their lives in the defence of the country........

Dr. Sidney G. Harmer, F.R.S., Keeperof Zoology at the Natural History Museum, London.

........Geoffrey was one of those rare spirits whom we all loved and worshipped: he had the secret of unfading spring and unfailing lovability. How rare is that combination of learning and gaiety ! Manifold gifts and much modesty were given to him.........

M.J. Rendall, Headmaster of Winchester College.

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..... When one saw what a fine and gallant officer he made one could not grudge him to the service of his country.....

He had the secret and the charm of a min always young and alive, and a quiet mastery of things which must have made him an incomparable officer.....

P.E. Matheson, Fellow of New College, Oxford.

.........I had the pleasure of meeting Geoff. again at Whitsuntide two years ago at the Deanery at Oxford, and hearing from him about his work in which he was so much interested. He was as charming and as simple and able and good as ever. I was struck at the time with the fact that he was so utterly unspoilt and so little changed except in the growth and deepening of character.........

The Right Rev. H.E. Bilbrough, Bishop of Dover.

..........There was something splendidly simple about him.

F.R. Urquhart, Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.

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