Geoffrey Lynch-Staunton – The Mesopotamian Campaign


Most of us know about the Mesopotamian Campaign in WWI because of seeing Peter O’Toole in the movie Lawrence of Arabia. Well, here is a little story that gets this saga a little closer to home.

A few months ago, I was doing some research work on the Masonic Lodge in Southampton and found the name Francis Lynch-Staunton dominant in its beginning. He lived here from 1855 to 1866 and was a person of significant influence during that time.

He moved his family, including two sons that were born in Southampton, to Hamilton and in time they became very active in Provincial and Federal politics. His son George, who had been born here, became a lawyer and eventually was appointed to the Canadian Senate. At about this point in my research I found information that George had a son named Geoffrey who had died in WWI.

Knowing that, I immediately got very interested in the story of Geoffrey. My first step in chasing his story hit a brick wall very quickly. His Canadian Military record was a brief single page with only five lines. Here is what is said.

Line 1: November 1, 1915 Taken on Strength (Reserve depot)
Line 2: November 4, 1915 Granted 7 Days leave.
Line 3: February 13, 1916 Transferred to England on King’s Appointment
(L. G. 2/11/16) L. G. is Lieutenant Governor
Line 4: February 13, 1916 Temp. Lieutenant in Werwickshire Yeomen 1st.

So with that, he left the Canadian Expeditionary Force and became a member of the British Army as a 20 year old officer.

And that is how he ended up fighting in the Mesopotamia Campaign. This is the campaign that saw Peter O’Toole nominated for an Academy Award. It was a campaign fought in the Middle East by the British Army and their Allies against mostly the Ottoman Turks.

                    For larger view, Click on Image

This campaign was waged throughout the war and the final casualty counts were very substantial and consisted mainly of members of the British, Australian and Indian Armies. Below is a breakdown of those casualties.

Killed 11,008
Died of wounds 5,281
Missing 2,341
Captured (POW’s) 12,879
Wounded 53,697
Died of Disease 16,712
Evacuated Sick 154,343
Total 256,261

The Ottoman casualties are estimated to be very similar with 89,000 battlefields dead or wounded estimated.

13th Hussars – for larger view, Click on Image

Geoffrey Lynch-Staunton entered the campaign with the 13th British Hussars. He died on March 5, 1917. The week he died; the 13th Hussars were fighting at the gate of Baghdad in present day Iraq. The city was captured by the British and their allies on March 11th, 1917.

He is remembered on a large Commonwealth War Memorial in Basra Iraq. There are 33 other Canadians who are also named there who had made the supreme sacrifice.


                         WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

Researched and Written by: G. William Streeter