No respecter of class
By Paul Coslett
Men of all classes fought and died together in World War I including Liverpool multi-millionaire Geoffrey Hughes.
The fierce fighting and appalling death toll of World War I had little respect for men?s backgrounds or wealth, a feature of many of the Liverpool regiments is the cross section of men who served on the front line from the working classes to the city?s rich merchant class.
Amongst the casualties in the trench warfare was multi-millionaire Geoffrey Hughes who served with the King?s Regiment and the Grenadier Guards and was killed in 1918.
Geoffrey Hughes was born in 1886 and after attending Rugby School, toured the world before going to work for his father?s firm.
Goeffrey Hughes is remembered at his local church
The Hughes family, like many of Liverpool?s wealthy classes had made their money through shipping, being partners in the Harrison shipping line and prominent members of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.
By the outbreak of World War I Geoffrey?s father, John Hughes had died, and he was living with his mother Elizabeth at the family?s Allerton home ?New Heys?.
In October 1914, shortly after the start of hostilities, Geoffrey Hughes was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion King?s (Liverpool) Regiment, he arrived in France with his Battalion in February 1915.
In September 1916 after being wounded in the arm Geoffrey was evacuated to the UK, he returned to France in November 1916 and a month later was promoted to Lieutenant.
By May 1917 he had succumbed to trench fever and was once again returned to the UK for treatment, while back home he married Joyce Chambers, the daughter of ship owner Walter Chambers at Oxton?s St Saviours Church in August 1917.
Geoffrey was once again sent back to the front line in early 1918, this time with the Grenadier Guards.
Geoffrey Hughes Memorial Playing Fields
During an enemy bombardment on 5 August, 1918 he was struck by shrapnel, and died from his wounds later that day, Geoffrey Hughes is now buried in Berles New Military Cemetery in France.
In Liverpool to honour his memory his family donated a sports ground to Liverpool University, The Geoffrey Hughes Memorial Ground, which still exists, close to the site of the family home on Mather Avenue.
By any standard Geoffrey Hughes was incredibly wealthy his estate would be equivalent to around ?70million in today?s money.
He left money to many local charities including the Liverpool Workshops for the Blind and the Liverpool Bluecoat Hospital.
Along with many other local men, rich and poor, Geoffrey Hughes is commemorated on the war memorial at All Hallows Parish Church in Allerton.