Rifleman Geoffrey Ernest Mansell

Date of Birth 16 October 1894
Age at Death 23
Date of Death 23 December 1917
Service Number 594097 5703 7038
Military Service 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles
Merton Address 171 Kingston Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

Geoffrey Ernest, who was born in the last quarter of 1894, was baptized on 9th December 1894 at The Holy Trinity Church in Wimbledon. His parents, who were Walter and Alice Mary Mansell resided at 87 Kingston Road. His baptism certificate reveals that Walter’s occupation was a butcher by trade.

The 1901 Census reveals that the family still reside in Wimbledon. The 45 year old Walter was still employed as a butcher. The 35 year old Alice Mary had given birth to 6 children. 22 year old Clara was employed as a baker’s assistant. The family employed Elizabeth Alliston as a general domestic servant.

The 1911 Census reveals that the 50 year old Walter was the employer with his wife 45 year old Alice Maud assisted in the business. The couple had been married for a total of 22 years. Their third child, Geoffrey Ernest aged just 16 years was employed as a junior clerk. The family still employed a 17 year old servant called Caroline Harris.

His father, Walter Mansell died in August 1915 and was buried in Merton, Surrey.

Geoffrey Ernest enlisted at Wimbledon as a rifleman in The London Irish Rifles and was killed in action on 23rd December 1917. He is buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery.

Geoffrey Ernest Mansell’s service record is not available through Ancestry.

His brother William Stanley, who had enlisted in the Royal Flying Corp aged just 21 years was killed in action on 11th September 1917 when his machine was seen to receive a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire and to go down. He is buried at Halluin in France.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Palestine (now Israel) was part of the Turkish Empire and it was not entered by Allied forces until December 1916. The advance to Jerusalem took a further year, but from 1914 to December 1917, about 250 Commonwealth prisoners of war were buried in the German and Anglo-German cemeteries of the city.

By 21 November 1917, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force had gained a line about five kilometres west of Jerusalem, but the city was deliberately spared bombardment and direct attack. Very severe fighting followed, lasting until the evening of 8 December, when the 53rd (Welsh) Division on the south, and the 60th (London) and 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions on the west, had captured all the city's prepared defences. Turkish forces left Jerusalem throughout that night and in the morning of 9 December, the Mayor came to the Allied lines with the Turkish Governor's letter of surrender. Jerusalem was occupied that day and on 11 December, General Allenby formally entered the city, followed by representatives of France and Italy.

Meanwhile, the 60th Division pushed across the road to Nablus, and the 53rd across the eastern road. From 26 to 30 December, severe fighting took place to the north and east of the city but it remained in Allied hands.
JERUSALEM WAR CEMETERY was begun after the occupation of the city, with 270 burials. There are now 2,515 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery, 100 of them unidentified.


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