CAPTAIN FRANCIS LEOPOLD MOND
ROYAL AIR FORCE
15TH MAY 1918 AGE 22
BURIED: DOULLENS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION NO. 2, FRANCE
Captain Mond and his observer, Lieutenant Edgar Meath Martyn, were shot down and killed on 15 May 1918. Although their bodies were recovered they were then misidentified and buried as Captain JV Aspinall and his observer Lieutenant Paul Dornonville de la Cours, see the previous inscription epitaph 352.
Thanks to Mond's mother's persistence (as described in the previous inscription) the mistake was eventually discovered, the bodies exhumed and correctly identified and new headstones erected. For personal inscriptions, Edgar Martyn's widow chose 'Greater love hath no man than this', and Francis Mond's mother a quotation from Georges Duhamel's 'The New Book of Martyrs'. Writing about his wartime experiences, Duhamel, a French surgeon, describes coming across a burial ground:
Mais le cimetiere que voici ne doit rien la vieillesse et a la maladie. C'est un cimetiere d'hommes jeunes et forts.
On peut lire leurs noms sur les cent petites croix pressees qui repetent tout le jour, en un choeur silencieux: "Il y a donc quelque chose de plus precieux que la vie, il y a donc quelque chose de plus necessaire que la vie ... puisque nous sommes ici."
[But this burial ground owes nothing to old age or sickness. It is the burial ground of young, strong men.
We may read their names on the hundreds of little crosses which repeat daily in speechless unison: "There must therefore be something more precious than life, more necessary than life ... since we are here."]
Mrs Mond shortened the quotation to: 'There must therefore be something more precious than life since we are here'. The meaning is that our country is more precious than life since we have given our lives to defend it.
Francis Mond joined the Territorial Artillery in July 1914 and volunteered for foreign service on the outbreak of war. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in February 1915 and was invalided home with shell shock that autumn. He returned to the front in 1916 but in September that year was posted to the Air Board in London. At his own request, he returned to active flying in March 1918 and was shot down on 15 May.
The Western Front Association relates the story of the discovery of the true identity of the bodies. After the war, Francis Mond's parents endowed the Chair of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Cambridge in his memory.
The Monds were originally a German family. Francis's father, Emile Moritz Schweich Mond, was born in Cologne in 1865. Emile's uncle, Ludwig Mond, came to England in 1862 and set up Brunner Mond in Northwich, Cheshire and the Mond Nickel Works in Swansea. Ludwig's son, Alfred Mond who became the first Lord Melchett, was the inspiration behind the establishment of the Imperial War Museum in March 1917, and oversaw the establishment ICI. Francis Leopold Mond was his wife's nephew and his cousin's son.