David Cameron Pays Tribute To Relative Killed at Ypres

David Cameron Pays Tribute To Relative Killed at Ypres

The 37-year-old captain served with the 16th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry and his name is listed among the 54,896 recorded on the gate. The PM also visited the Tyne Cot cemetery, where another 39,984 fallen soldiers are remembered.

Five members of the Cameron family died during the First World War, which isn’t a surprise, considering the numbers of dead were incomprehensibly enormous. John Geddes’s sister, Rachel, who was born in Chicago, married David Cameron’s great-grandfather, Mr Ewen Cameron. According to some personal research reports, there are another 48 men named J Geddes, who also died during the war.

People from almost every town and village in Britain had died in the war. One of the tiniest hamlets, and arguably one of the most affected ones was Wasing, near Aldermaston, Berkshire. Wasing was the place where one of David Cameron’s great great uncles lived.

Captain Francis Mount died in October 1915, on the last day of the Battle of Loos. Loos was Britain’s biggest offensive that year on the Western Front and it was the first time Britain used poison gas. However, the Anglo-French attack was a mess which resulted in the dismissal of Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, Field Marshal Sir John French and his replacement with Field Marshal Douglas Haig.

It was during the Battle of Loos that author Rudyard Kipling lost his only son, after encouraging him to join up, despite the fact that the 18-year-old was seriously short-sighted. The death of his son, inspired the author to write ‘My Boy Jack’:

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.

“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

The pain drove Kipling to write the history of the Irish Guards, the regiment his son had served with. He also worked for the Imperial War Graves Commission. Once, he came up with the wording “A Soldier of the Great War known unto God”, an inscription which is now present on gravestones of unidentified fallen servicemen.

Frank Mount was born in 1872 at Wasing Place and had 9 siblings. He was killed aged 43. His father, Mr William Mount, was a Conservative MP from 1885 until 1900. Frank’s older brother took over his seat from 1900 to 1922, with a four-year gap in 1906, The Telegraph reports.

The highest position William Mount, the son of William Mount and brother of Frank Mount, ever reached, was as parliamentary private secretary. In 1916, he traveled to France with the British Claims Commission, to investigate French property damaged by British occupation.

When the war broke out, Frank Mount was forced to leave his wife and two sons as he was commissioned in the 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. Mount was among the last of the 59,247 British casualties at Loos.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE