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Person Details
03 Feb 1889
Sutton in Ashfield Nottinghamshire
Geoffrey was born on 3rd February 1889 at Westfield House, Sutton in Ashfield, and was the son of George Gershom Bonser and Dorothy A. Mary Bonser of 'Kirkstede' Church Street Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. He married Lillian Prime at Mansfield on 3rd July 1918 while he was on home leave from the front.
He was educated at Brighton College and at King's School, Worcester, where he held an honorary scholarship. He was awarded a B.A. at St. John's College Cambridge then then entered St. Thomas's Hospital, and took the diplomas of M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P.
29 Sep 1918
29
164968 - CWGC Website
Captain
Royal Army Medical Corps
He was gazetted Captain on 25th April 1916 in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He embarked for Egypt on 23rd April 1916 and served in Palestine. He was later attached to the 12th battalion, Norfolk Regiment. The regiment was posted to France in May 1918. Captain Bonser was killed instantaneously by a shell while attending the wounded at Ploegsteert Wood. He died near Armentieres and the funeral service was conducted by the Battalion's padre, Rev G Beech. He is buried in Strand Military Cemetery, Belgium (grave reference VIII.D.5). A memorial service was held at Sutton in Ashfield parish church on 10 October 1918.
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'For I was my father's son tender and an only one' (Proverbs 4:3, KJV) Family memorial, St Mary Magdalene, Sutton in Ashfield: ‘In proud and loving memory of Geoffrey Alwyn Gershom Bonser BA St Johns Coll. Cam. MRCS LRCP. Captain RAMC attached 12th Batt Norfolk Regt. Only son of George Gershom and Dorothy A Mary Bonser of this parish who was killed while attending the wounded at Ploegsteet Wood near Armentieres France and was buried one mile south of Messines S. of Ypres on Sept. 29th 1918, aged 29. 'I thank my God for every rememberance of you., Erected by his sister' Report published 11th October 1918 in the Mansfield Reporter and Advertiser :- “CAPT. GEOFFREY A. G. BONSER “SUTTON. “KILLED AT ARMENTIERES WHILST ATTENDING WOUNDED. “With deep regret we record the death of Captain Geoffrey Alwyn Gershom Bonser, B.A.,— only son of Mr. G. G. Bonser, J.P. “Kirkstede,” Sutton — which occurred whilst atending (sic) the wounded near Armentieres on Sunday, September 29th. “Captain Geoffrey Bonser was born at Westfield House, Sutton, on February 3rd, 1889, and was educated at Brighton College and Worcester Cathedral King's School, proceeding thence to St. John's College, Cambridge in October, 1907, where he graduated B.A Honours in Science Tripos, in 1910. He commenced his surgical studies at St. Thomas's Hospital, London, early in 1911, graduating M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. in 1914, and served as casualty officer at the hospital. Being of a highly metaphysical turn of mind he was much inclined to take to literature, and was for some time editor of the “Hospital Gazette.” He entered on an appointment at the Eastern General Military Hospital at Cambridge in September, 1915, and was gazetted Lieutenant in the R.A.M.C. on July 15th. Sailing on Easter Day, April 23rd, 1916, for Egypt, he joined the Norfolk Regiment, reaching the rank of Captain the same day. After serving on the Western Front there for a year he was transferred to the Eastern, serving in the Palestine campaign under General Murray and General Allenby by Gaza and Beersheba, entering Jerusalem. Writing on November 12th, Captain Bonser said:— “I refuse to worry myself at the present juncture, being, as I am, very glad to have a whole skin. My chief concern this last fortnight has been the getting of food and drink, sleep when possible, taking cover from bursting shells, attending to the wounded, and evacuating them. That has taken my whole attention ... In the battle of Beersheba my regiment was one of the first in the attack, delivered before dawn after a night march of ten miles, which I did on foot. In the second action we had some stiff work, too, and all the time advancing by day and by night under shell fire, with little sleep, perished with cold alternately with being baked by the sun.” “On the 30th he wrote: “We are not a hundred miles from the Valley of Ajalon where, you will remember, Joshua made the moon stand still.” On December 3rd Captain Bonser sent home some flint implements gathered at the “Gerar” of the Old Testament. Writing on December 12 he said: “We have had a battle and are in sight of Jerusalem ... We are on the slope of a hill, at the top of which the Prophet Samuel is reputed to have been born.” December 16th: “I walked over to Hubiebeh, the ancient Emmaus, and we are encamped on the hill Shiloh.” On Christmas Day: “We had only a short time in Jerusalem, but visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives, and the Jews' waiting place, having entered by the Jaffa Gate.” April 14, 1918: “Have got all my kit, including my bed, for the first time since I left Egypt a year ago.” “In May Captain Bonser sailed — as he thought — for home, but was landed in France, and from there came home for his first leave, arriving July 2nd. He was married on July 3rd, and returned to France on July 22nd last. On St. Michael's Day he was killed, his Colonel — only recently appointed — writing as follows “Norfolk Regiment, 31st Division, October 2nd, 1918. Ere this you will have received notification from the War Office ... He is a great loss to the Battalion, and of all those who knew him well I have heard nothing but words of praise. He was killed instantly by a shell while attending wounded. He was buried by our Padre, Rev. G. Beech, and a cross has been erected. He was killed near Armentieres.” “Of great dialectical ability, Captain Bonser wrote many essays and a System of Dualistic Philosophy, an article on “Paracelsus,” and many poems. “Thank God, although your eyes are dim with tears. “And sad your life and grey, “That howso'er the battle went for him “Twas Victory that day. “At the Sutton Parish Church yesterday afternoon [10th October 1918] a memorial service was held.” An article in the British Medical Journal 19 October 1918 reads:- 'Captain Geoffrey Alwys Gershom Bonser, the only son of Mr. G. G. Bonser, J.P. killed in action on St. Michael's Day, was born February 3rd, 1889. He was educated at Brighton College and at King's School, Worcester, where he held an honorary scholarship, subsequently proceeding to Cambridge where he graduated with honours in the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1910. He then entered St. Thomas's Hospital, and took the diplomas of M.R.C.S. and. L.R.C.P. in 1914. He was about to sit for his third M.B., second part, at Cambridge, when he joined up and was appointed to the Eastern General Hospital at Cambridge. He was gazetted captain on April 25th, 1916, and proceeded to Egypt, where he served under General Allenby through Palestine. In May the regiment was moved to France, and in July he had his first home leave, during which he was married. His colonel wrote: "He was killed instantaneously by a shell while attending the wounded ... He is a great loss to the battalion, and from all those who knew him I have heard nothing but words of praise." His tastes were literary and metaphysical, with a passionate love of music. During his time at St. Thomas's he edited the hospital Gazette and he was engaged in developing "a system of dualistic philosophy," as well as writing many essays and poems.' Report published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 4th October 1918 : - “CAPTAIN GEOFFREY ALWYN GERSHOM BONSER, B.A., who has been killed in action, was the only son of Mr. G. G. and the late Mrs. Bonser, of Kirkstede, Sutton-in-Ashfleld. He was educated at Worcester Cathedral King's School and Brighton College, and graduated from St. John's College, Cambridge, and from thence at St. Thomas's Hospital, taking the M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. He joined the R.A.M.C. as lieutenant in 1915, and was married as recently as July 3rd last. He has been attached to the Norfolk Regt.” Above articles and obituary are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 He is also commemorated on the King's School, Worcester, war memorial
Remembered on

Photos

  • Geoffrey Alwyn Gershom Bonser -
  • Family memorial, St Mary Magdalene Church, Sutton in Ashfield. Photograph courtesy of Peter Gillings.
    Geoffrey Alwyn Gershom Bonser - Family memorial, St Mary Magdalene Church, Sutton in Ashfield. Photograph courtesy of Peter Gillings.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Strand Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Geoffrey Alwyn Gershom Bonser - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Strand Military Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle