Today’s featured plate is of Private George Leonard Ingram. The information we have on this man is very limited. Indeed, it demonstrates the very little information we are able to uncover about a large number of the individuals in our plates. However, a small detail uncovered in the research of this man offers a poignant insight into his experience and that of his family. It is these details that humanise our glass plates and which, for the most part, sadly remain hidden from us – or perhaps that is exactly how it should be.
Private George Leonard Ingram. 25th Battalion (Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers (formerly of the Royal West Kent Regiment). Lived at 4 Bell Cottages, Ewell Road, Cheam.
Born in Cheam, George was the son of William and Ellen Ingram of Cheam. He married Ada Potter in 1914 and had two daughters – Winifred and Nora. Like his father, George worked as a carter.
George was mortally wounded at the Battle of Arras (9 April – 16 May 1917) where a total of 160,000 British soldiers lost their lives. He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery and commemorated on the Cheam War Memorial.
Soldiers were required to write a will before going into active service. Many of these wills tend to have the same wording which was probably dictated to them. The final handwritten wills were kept by troops in their pocket service books and tucked into their uniforms.
However George Ingram’s will appears to have been written as he lay badly wounded – knowing he was not going to make it. He could barely write.
Dated 28 April 1917
I leave all my personal belongings to my wife A. Ingram, 4 Bell Cottages, Cheam, Surrey. I am severely wounded when writing this. Love to the children. We shall meet in heaven. George.
George died 11 days later on the 9 May 1917.