Bedales 1906-1907, RASC

Geoffrey (as he was usually known) spent only three terms at Bedales. The Roll records him joining the school in the Summer Term of 1906 and leaving at the end of the first term of 1907. Despite being the 3rd son (and 4th child) of Weetman Dickinson Pearson, later 1st Viscount Cowdray, virtually nothing is known of Geoffrey’s early life or later occupation.

The Roll records Geoffrey as spending a year (1908 – 1909) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. That summer, on 6th August 1909 a few days short of his eighteenth birthday, he married Ethel Elizabeth Lewis. According to the Bedales Roll he was “working in Denmark and Austria 1909 - 14”. This is partially confirmed by the fact that the birth of his daughter Joan Ciannetta on 19th January 1912, was registered with the British Vice-Consul in Brünn.  (This is probably Brno, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in the Czech Republic.)

Geoffrey must have been back in England about the time of the declaration of War on 4th August. Three days later he presented himself for a military medical examination and in Avonmouth on 9th August he swore his allegiance to H M King George V to serve “for a term of one year, unless the War lasts longer than one year, in which case (he would) be retained until the War is over.” He was enrolled as a Private in the 64th Company of the 3rd Division of the Army Service Corps, and, as a Motor Bicycle Fitter by trade, was to serve as a motor bike despatch rider. 

After 5 days “home service”, on 14th August Geoffrey embarked with the British Expeditionary Force where he served for a further 24 days. He was reported “killed in action” at Vevreddes on 6th September and posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. 

In those days of tales of German atrocities, as a posting on Ancestry claims, “reports surfaced later that he had been treated with unconscionable brutality by his captors, directly causing his death. Great indignation was raised by these reports, one of many that were flooding out of Northern France at the time. The incident was referenced by Arthur Conan Doyle in his 1914 book "The German War" (Chapter VI, 'A Policy of Murder'), who called him 'the gallant motor-cyclist, Pearson'.” 

In The Record Mr. Badley merely stated the fact of his death.