PRIVATE WILLIAM LONDON
20TH JULY 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: CAMBRIN MILITARY CEMETERY, FRANCE
"Willie we are calling you". William London's father chose his inscription. I can only imagine that he is telling his son that his mother and father have been trying to 'call' him through a spiritualist medium. And I can only imagine that they have not had any answer. It's rather a haunting inscription.
Belief in spiritualism, the belief that it was possible to make contact with the dead beyond the grave, was very popular after the First World War. There were numerous charlatans out there but some people genuinely believed that they were speaking to their dead relations. And not everyone who believed was a gullible innocent. Sir Oliver Lodge, a British physicist who played a key part in the development of radio, firmly believed that he was in touch with his son Raymond who had been killed in action on 14 September 1915.
William London was the younger of his parents' two children. He served with the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment and was killed in action on 20 July 1918. There is a gap in the battalion war diary between the end of June and the beginning of November so it's not possible to tell how he might have died.