A First War War Medal to Captain Geach; Air Force Cross Recipient
A First War War Medal to Captain Geach; Air Force Cross Recipient - (CAPT. C.L.E. GEACH. R.A.F.). Naming is officially impressed. Very crisp detail, cleaned, extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Service Records, Combats in the Air Reports, assorted research papers and two photographs. Footnote: Charles Leonard Elliott Geach occupation in civil life was that of Stock Dealer, a member of the London Stock Exchange. His next-o-kin listed on his Will was his wife, Mrs. Leonard Geach of Bettany Cottage, Bray on Thames, Berkshire. He was commissioned on August 24, 1914 at Aldershot, coming over from the 1 Reserve Regiment Cavalry. He soon found himself that September with the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Dragoon Guards and stayed with them until July 28, 1915. He was a Second Lieutenant (on probation), when he relinquished his commission and joined the Royal Naval Air Service. While with the the RNAS, he earned his Aviator's Certificate, number 1891, which was granted on October 16, 1915. He served with the RNAS in France, with the Dunkirk Seaplanes, the North Sea Patrol Seaplanes and the Dunkirk Patrol. A series of Confidential Reports issued while he was with the RNAS states the he was "qualified as a Seaplane Pilot (March 20, 1916), A good Pilot and very promising Officer (April 1, 1916), A good Pilot & Executive Officer, but lazy (June 30, 1916), Strongly recommended for promotion (March 1, 1917), Good Pilot & very good Executive Officer (April 1, 1917)." He went home in December 1916 and remained with the RNAS until April 1917, when he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. His path to the RFC was a slow one, as his original application in late 1916 was not approved. On January 15, 1917, he took the place of Flight Commander H.A. Buss as Ferry Pilot while with the RNAS. He again applied for permission to transfer to the RFC on March 3, 1917. This time, it was noted on April 2, that his application was met with no objection. A submission was put forward to terminate his appointment with the RNAS upon transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, with his commission and appointment terminated on transfer to the Army on April 26, 1917 and had now been promoted to Captain. He was appointed Flight Commander on January 1, 1918 and remained in England until being sent overseas on March 25, 1918. Included with his paperwork are two "Combats in the Air" reports. The first is dated June 12, 1918 and describes an encounter he has over Compiegne, France, armed with two Vickers guns: "About 12:15 p.m. I was turning towards COMPEIGNE in order to abandon Patrol and return home when my formation was attacked by from 12 to 15 Fokker Biplanes. One of these was on Lieut. Young's Tail and shot him down, at least I saw smoke coming out of it, although I did not actually see it in flames. I dived on this E.A. and fired a long burst with both guns. E.A. broke up in air. This machine is confirmed by a Flight Commander (Phillips P) of No. 8 A. F.C. I was subsequently attacked by 3 E.A. and forced to spin to the ground, one of which followed me down to 1500 feet where I had a scrap with him over MARGEY near COMPEIGNE but he got away. I saw Lieut. Arundel's machine on its back on the ground alongside COMPEIGNE Road. and was able to see that the Pilot was O.K." The second report is undated and describes an adventure he had while with No. 43 Squadron: "I was leading top formation of No. 43 Squadron as 4 or 5 E.A. dived on the tail end of my formation. I turned to go to the assistance and just after an Albatross dived steeply underneath going S.W. I got on his tail and dived after him and gave him a burst from both guns. I was right on his tail and his machine filled my Aldis Sight. He then continued down diving vertically in a South Westerly direction. This machine was seen to dive beneath me by Lieut. Bloomfield." Geach was awarded with the Air Force Cross on June 3, 1919 for his exception efforts during the war, which is not included with his BWM. He was also an avid car enthusiast, who enjoyed competitive automobile racing. Before the war, he is listed as having participated in an Easter Meet on April 17, 1911 (declaration handicap of 10.5 miles, placing first with a 80 hp Mercedes, a May 1911 Meet (sprint race, placing third with a 90 hp Mercedes), an Easter Meet on April 8, 1912 (Easter Handicap for private competitors of 5.75 miles, placing third with a 45 hp Mercedes and a 100-mph handicap of 8.5 miles, placing second with a 45 hp Mercedes). He was a member of the Hampshire Automobile Club Team, behind the wheel of a Vauxhall, when they took home the Brooklands Trophy as champions of the Royal Automobile & Associated Clubs' Inter Club Meeting and Gala Day on May 31, 1913. After the war, he continued to race automobiles and almost met his maker at one race. An article published in the London Times on June 21, 1920, reporting on a motor race held at the Brookland race circuit entitled "Captain Geach's Narrow Escape" describes the accident: "A most successful meeting at Brooklands on Saturday came near to being marred by tragedy. Driving the scratch car, the six-cylinder Sunbeam, in the fifth race, Captain. C.L.E. Geach had a narrow escape from death. At the further end of the railway straight, just opposite the aeroplane sheds, his car, which was probably doing over 100 miles an hour, swerved violently off the banking, skidded right across the track, turned completely over -- accordingly to some accounts twice or three times -- and pitched its driver into the sewage farm, where his fall was, fortunately, well broken. Captain Geach suffered nothing worse than bruises, and a slight concussion, and at the close of the meeting declared himself fit to drive home. The cause of the accident is not yet known, although the probabilities point to a burst tire. Spectators who were watching the race from the members' bridge saw the car skid badly from high up on the banking across the track. Captain Geach, however, regained control, and emerged on the railway straight apparently going well. A few seconds later the car again was seen to skid broadside to the track, and then to overturn in a cloud of dust. It was a great relief to the spectators when, later, the rescue car drove into the paddock carrying the driver unhurt." He is also credited in the Royal Aero Club Aerial Derby in 1920, as an "Observer at Turning Points" and is documented as being in a creditor's petition in Bankruptcy that was filed on June 30, 1921.