Letters courtesy of Melvyn Roffe, descendant of Rifleman Geeson
The following letters relate to the death in action of Rifleman Wilfred Edwin Geeson, #552245, of 2nd/16th Battalion, London Regiment, who died on Saturday 8 December 1917, aged 24. He is buried in plot U106 of Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel.
For more information, read the story about Surrey fireman who died in the war: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/surrey-firemen-killed-in-action-during-the-great-war/
“Dec. 10th 1917
May I write to say how very deeply the officers, NCO and men of your son’s company sympathise with you in his loss. It was in the action of the 8th Dec which resulted in the taking of Jerusalem that he was killed. He was, as you doubtless know, one of the Company’s stretcher bearers and it was in hurrying to the help of a wounded man that he lost his own life. His was as brave an action as I have seen during the war, for he didn’t hesitate a moment to see whether other shells would follow the one which had already caused the casualty with the result that he was himself hit a minute later.
We buried him the same morning on a hillside about two and a half miles west of Jerusalem and overlooking the little village of Karim. His personal kit has been collected and will be sent to you through the usual channel.
He was not only a good and cheerful soldier, but he showed an unselfishness and devotion to duty which greatly increases our sense of loss.
Yours very sincerely,
CH Flower (Cpt)
OC C Company 2nd/16th Battalion London Regiment”
“PO West Molesley
March 10th 1918
My Dear Edith
Thank you for your kind sympathy in our great loss. Oh, the awful blow the mothers of England are called upon to bear is terrible. I try to be brave but it’s very hard. He was my all in everything, nothing came amiss to the Dear sweet Lad, everybody loved him. I try to think God knows best. How hard it is for those that’s left. He spared him further suffering in this wicked and evil war and they had gone through some fighting and hardships. Fancy, I had not seen him for 19 months. How I prayed and hoped for his home coming. I thought you would like one of his Captain’s letters. I also had a beautiful letter from a chum that came home but he happened to be in hospital at the time. Another chum was killed [at the] same time and his mother wrote to me that they were both buried in [the] same grave. They were born a stone’s throw from one another in Ashford. The other was 26 years old…..
Excuse the long delay in answering your letter but our time is so much taken up by the shop that we get very little leisure, indeed very little time to dwell upon our great loss, but a loss like ours is not for a day it is for a life time, a blank that can never be filled. It was our hope to see our lad return to take over from us the responsibilities which we had hoped to lay down, but war upsets all our calculations and although we sow, we know not who will reap. In the full beauty of manhood he like thousands of others has been swept away. I hope that you are all well. You are now safer than you were owing to the failure of the Zeppelins – we hear the guns and bombs in the distance every London raid. Thank God it is in the distance.
Your loving Uncle
E J Geeson”