INGRAM, Rex Sidney Anthony. Lieutenant (304683)
4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters). Royal Armoured Corps
Died 13 June 1944, aged 19
Not listed in the Book of Remembrance
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records note Rex as the "Son of Bernard William and Ada Lillian Ingram, of Epsom, Surrey", but the background is a little more complicated. His father, Bernard was born in 1882. As an 18 year old, he was recorded as the oldest of three children living with their parents (Frederick W - a "Lime & Cement Merchant", with Bernard as his "Clerk" - and Eliza A Ingram) at 18 County Grove, Camberwell, supported by a domestic servant.
In Q3 1907, Bernard married Mabel Constance Clark. The 1911 Census records the couple (with Bernard now as a "Lime & Cement Merchant") living at 35 Calais Gate, Cormont Road, Lambeth, also supported by a domestic servant. They do not appear ever to have had any children.
Rex was born Q3 1924 in Camberwell. The records list his mother's maiden name as Ingram and, in Q2 1925, the 42 year old Bernard married 25 year old Ada L Ingram in the Pancras District. (It would appear that there was a divorce: Mabel C Ingram died Q2 1964 in the Surrey SE District). The 1939 Register records Bernard and Ada living at "Daleside", Banstead Road, Sutton & Cheam MB. There is no other record at the address - not even a currently closed one as would be standard for the 15 year old Rex, probably because he was at Dauntsey's School in West Lavington, Wiltshire, where he is noted as a former pupil. As noted above, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's post-war records have the parents "of Epsom, Surrey", but their address in the Borough has yet to be established.
The 16 February 1945 record of Probate on Rex's estate (of some £200) states that Rex's address had been 237 Walworth Road, London SE17. Administration was granted to the apparently unrelated Frederick Charles Wood, an insurance broker.
Rex's WW2 service was in the 4th County of London Yeomanry (CLY). This played a key part in the battles of El Alamein, the advance into Tunisia and in the Italian campaign. Given his age, however, it seems likely that Rex joined the 4th CLY after its December 1943 return to the UK to prepare for the D-Day invasion of France. As part of the 7th Armoured Division, the 4th CLY landed at Gold Beach on D-Day+1, 7 June 1944.
Tanks from the 4th County of London Yeomanry
moving inland from Gold Beach, 7 June 1944.
IWM photograph B 5251, public domain.
The Regiment was immediately engaged in Operation Perch, the capture of the German stronghold of Caen, a few miles inland from the Normandy beaches. This key and early objective of the invasion proved much more difficult than Allied commanders had anticipated and, after a week, Operation Perch was aborted on 14 June. (Other plans were put in place and, after much fierce fighting, Caen was finally taken on 6 August.)
On 13 June 1944, the penultimate day of Operation Perch, the 4th CLY was advancing with the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) by road from Villers-Bocage (about 10 miles west of Caen) when it was ambushed by a detachment of German tanks. The enemy knocked out the CLY's lead Cromwell tank and then took out the rest of the column (26 tanks and four other armoured vehicles), trapped in the embanked road. There were heavy losses of men - including Rex. (This was the prelude to a German counter-attack which forced the British out of Villers-Bocage - further prolonging the battle for Caen.)
Rex is one of the 4,144 Commonwealth WW2 burials in the nearby Bayeux War Cemetery. His parents took the option of adding a personal inscription to his headstone,
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Roger Morgan © 2018
Please contact the Webmaster if you have information or pictures that can extend this entry.