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News > Alumni News > Remembrance: 2Lt Geoffrey Bowen Yonge

Remembrance: 2Lt Geoffrey Bowen Yonge

Lest we forget: in memory of Geoffrey Yonge 1898-1918
2Lt Geoffrey Bowen Yonge (OMK 1904-1911) - photograph taken at school
2Lt Geoffrey Bowen Yonge (OMK 1904-1911) - photograph taken at school

Geoffrey Bowen Yonge was born at home on 28 November 1898, the son of Duke Mohun Yonge, a solicitor, and Isabella Sydney Yonge of Westpark, Yealmpton.  

At the age of six, Geoffrey joined Alton School in Plymouth under its formidable headmistress, Miss Tubbs. When Alton School and Garfield House amalgamated to become Mount House, he stayed on under Mr Machell Cox until leaving in 1911 to join Berkhamsted School. He was Head Prefect and also a Sgt Major in the Officer Training Corps. In nominating him for a cadetship at the Royal Military College, his headmaster wrote “He is a thoroughly good fellow; he is not clever, but he has the respect of everybody by his sterling worth.”

Geoffrey Yonge joined up on 3 November 1916, days short of his 18th birthday. After training he was assigned to C Company, 1/5th (Prince of Wales) Battalion of The Devonshire Regiment, a territorial battalion based in Plymouth.

As the end of World War I approached, the battalion was engaged in the Battle of The Sambre in the area of the Foret de Mormal, on the Franco-Belgian border.  Although many German soldiers had by this time lost heart in their cause, there were still pockets of resistance, and this was the case in the Foret de Mormal. On 5 November 1918 1/5th Devon’s were heavily involved in taking the villages of Le Cheval Blanc and Le Trechon on the northern edge of the forest. On that day Geoffrey Yonge received a gunshot wound to his right arm, fracturing the humerus. He was moved to the 8th General Hospital at Rouen, and died there on 21 November 1918 aged 19. He is remembered with honour at the St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen (Plot S.V.K.6).

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