Most people commemorated on our war memorial were ordinary people; Francis Geoffrey Pearson is probably the only exception. Geoffrey was the youngest son of Sir Weetman Dickinson Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray and his wife Annie who owned Paddockhurst Park, now the site of Worth Abbey School and the Benedictine monastery.
Geoffrey died in the very early stages of the war, on 6th September 1914, when the Germans had pushed their way through Belgium and were advancing rapidly to Paris (all part of the Schlieffen Plan). Geoffrey was a motorcycle messenger, got overrun and captured by the advancing German troops, and was shot when trying to escape.
An Australian newspaper article, (shown below) based on the testament of a colleague, tells exactly what happened to Geoffrey, and reflects a somewhat gung-ho, ‘boy’s own adventure’ attitude to the conflict that still existed at the beginning of the war. The reporting of Geoffrey’s death also reflects the view that there was a ‘right’ way to fight a war and the Germans had been breaking the rules.