Reunion 2005 - Photos by Pat Hill
William Ingham ~ An interesting story
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Hello Dickie,

A few weeks ago I received an email from a lady in Abuquerque asking if I could help her find details of her father, William Ingham. She had found my contact on the Royal Hospital School Association website - I am currently the RHSA's General Secretary.

Her father had been educated at Greenwich Royal Hospital School leaving in September 1912 for a career in the Royal Navy. Her only evidence of this was the certificate pasted in the front of his Bible presented when he left the school. There were other little snippets of information - maybe he served in Gallipoli, perhaps attached to the Royal Marines, was wounded maybe - but nothing much else.

After a couple of weeks research, generously helped by the Corps Museum, Fleet Air Arm Museum, the London Fire Brigade and several civilian organisations I have pieced together a history of this chap unknown to his daughter who, in 1938 at the age of 18 months, was given to relatives when her mother died. She never knew her parents.

William Ingham joined the Band Service at Eastney in 1912. After training he joined Victory II, which I gather was an administrative machine that dealt with those serving in the Royal Naval Divisions - though I could be wrong there. Most importantly he was ashore in the Dardenelles with Drake Division, served in HMS Cornwall, HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Agamemnon, the latter while still off Gallipoli. He took a serious wound in his left leg and this led to his invaliding in 1919. Hence the London Fire Brigade.

We have, as yet, no idea what became of William Ingham but, as is often the case with this kind of project, other valuable information has been revealed leading to the discovery of the final resting place of my contact's mother, details of her maternal and paternal grandparents and, of course, plenty of information about the Band Service, Eastney Barracks past and present and Greenwich Royal Hospital School. Birth and Death Certificates are now on their way along with copies of Service Documents.

It has been a great pleasure to be involved with William, as results from research became available it was clear that our individual histories overlapped. Quite apart from education and Band Service, though two generations apart, we were both 'lined up' for creating disturbances in Cromwell Road, Eastney and he lived in the same area of South West London as I did.

I am told there are pictures of Royal Marines Bands taken during the Gallipoli Campaign and the Corps Museum have promised to do some searching for me. HMS Agamemnon Band in particular. I would like to ask if any members or visitors of your site have, or know anyone who might have, pictures of Bands taken in Gallipoli that could be scanned, or copied, and sent to me. My contact and me would be most grateful.

Almost all the people I have spoken to about William, when the words Royal Marines have been mentioned, have volunteered information that they, too, knew someone who is or was in the Royal Marines. The level of assistance rose considerably on every occasion. So it proves true. We are past, present and future, always a family. Kind of miss it all, just a bit!


Pat 'Pusser' Hill

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