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redemption in the suicide club

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British War and Victory Medal

Geoffrey Sheringham was born 26th June 1882 son of Colonel A. W. Sheringham of the Cheshire regiment and came from Caston in Norfolk, he went to Felstead school were his address was "Flexmoor" Caston, Norfolk.

Gazetted Second Lieutenant 6th January, 1900 he served with the 3rd Bn The Cheshire Regiment attached to the 4th Bn serving in the South African war (Queens and Kings South Africa Medals,sadly missing) and then transferring to the 2nd Bn until 1908 when he resigned his commission due to "financial circumstances" (also noted in his records as “unable to live on his pay")

I would suspect that debt played a large part in his resignation…

He is noted on the school record as working in Mexico, Alaska and ranching in California.

On the 30 January 1916 he return to the UK from New York on the ship Finland arriving in Liverpool

On arrival Geoffrey wrote to the Army board on the 2nd February 1916 for appointment to a temporary commission in the regular army, the response was as follows;

"I am directed to inform you that this application cannot at present be entertained. I am however to add that if he were to enlist and is subsequently recommended for good service in the field, a further application on his behalf would receive consideration."

When qualified officers were needed to be turned down must have meant that his past was in need of serious redemption…….

Geoffrey enlisted into the ranks on the 1st March into the 9th Lancers as a trooper and then transferred to 3rd Bn the Norfolk regiment before transferring to the 9th Bn the Norfolk regiment on
the 24th March 1916 embarking for France 16th May 1916 as a Lance Corporal. He then volunterred to be attached to the 71st Machine Gun Company for the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916).

In its short history the MGC gained an enviable record for heroism as a front line fighting force. Indeed, it commonly served well in advance of the front line. It had a less enviable record for its casualty rate. Some 170,500 officers and men served in the MGC with 62,049 becoming casualties, including 12,498 killed, earning it the nickname 'the Suicide Club'.

On the 14 July Geoffrey was evacuated from the field and was drafted to the 165 Machine Gun Company, 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

He would have taken part in the following engagements:

The Battle of Guillemont (4-6 September)

The Battle of Ginchy (9 September)
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (17-22 September)
The Battle of Morval (25-28 September)

On the 15 December 1916 he returned to the UK to attend Officer Cadet School and on the 27th March 1917 was commissioned into the 3rd Bn Northumberland Fusiliers.

In 1917 due to trench foot he transferred to the Kings African Rifles and gazetted on the 20 Aug. 1917 as Temporary 2nd G. Sheringham, from acting Capt. (additional) to be acting. Captain while commanding a company and in 1919 he was noted as an assistant Political Officer in Dar-es-Salaam Tanganyika.

In 1930 Geoffrey at the age of 48 returned from Africa on the ship Durham castle from Dar-es-Salaam.

From 1935 to 1950 he lived in Tenarife

Edited by dante
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  • 2 years later...

Update, Geoffrey died in 1950 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, in 1908 he is noted as traveling to Canada and returning from California USA in 1916, he is noted as "Ex Soldier"  (I have checked US records and unless he enlisted under another name he did not serve in the US army, 1908-16) 

His service with the Kings African Rifles was first with the 6th (Tanganyika Territory) Battalion was raised from Askaris of the former German East Africa an then with the 2nd 





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Thank you for the additions to this excellent thread.  The stories behind medals that are numbered in millions can sometimes reveal lives full of interest and adventure, and I enjoyed reading about Geoffrey Sheringham.



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Reunite; South African medals, plus information of his Boer war service..."In command of 30 men escorting 19 empty wagons. Lt Sheringham rode ahead to find the escort he was expecting. Instead he was captured and taken back to the convoy, which he ordered to surrender. The Boers released the men after stripping them of their arms and ammunition. The Court of Inquiry found Lt Sheringham responsible for the surrender, despite his young age (18 years) and inexperience."

Just need a photograph of him !!


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