LIEUTENANT STANNUS GEOGHEHAN
ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS
17TH MARCH 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: NINE ELMS BRITISH CEMETERY, WEST FLANDERS, BELGIUM
As you might have noticed, this inscription is seven lines long and has almost double the amount of characters stipulated by the War Grave Commission. The Commission nowhere states formally that excessive inscriptions will be permitted, but there's plenty of evidence that this is so. It seems that if you made a special case, and were prepared to pay, then sixty-six characters was not the limit. Both Lt Horace Allenby and Lt.Col. Percy Machell have inscriptions that are also over a hundred characters, whilst Captain Willock's is over two hundred.
Why has Brigadier General Stannus Geoghegan C.B. Indian Army used up valuable letters on himself you may ask. It's not because he was proud of himself but because, as many parents felt, their sons were still boys and not having had a chance to make their own mark in the world their identity was still linked to that of their family.
Geoghegan's entry in de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour Volume V tells the story of his brief life and military career:
"b. Naini Tal, India, 3 July 1898; educ. Sangeen, Bournemouth; St Winifred's, Kenley; Marlborough College, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; gazetted 2nd Lieut. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 16 Aug 1916; promoted Lieut. 16 Feb. 1918; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from Aug. 1917, and died of wounds received in action near Passchendaele, a few hours previously. Buried in Nine Elms Cemetery, Poperinghe. His Company Commander wrote: "He had been in my company for six months, and I had a great affection for him. He was one of the bravest and most willing subalterns I have ever met with, and I feel his loss very deeply. He was always a great favourite in the mess."