PRIVATE ALBERT INGHAM
1ST DECEMBER 1916 AGE 24
BURIED: BAILLEULMONT COMMUNAL CEMETERY, FRANCE
There is no prevarication about this inscription. In order to spare his feelings, Private Ingham's father would have been informed that his son had 'died of wounds', and this is what it says in the cemetery register. However, when Mr Ingham discovered the truth he chose not to hide it but to state it defiantly on his son's headstone. He also pointed out that his son had been an early volunteer and that he, the father, was still proud of him.
Albert Ingham and a friend absconded from the front and were caught in civilan clothes trying to get back to England. They were tried and executed for desertion. Without Mr Ingham's choice of inscription there would be nothing to differentiate his son's grave from that of any other casualty of the war.
Interestingly, Mr Ingham's view of his son's actions was reflected in Parliament. On 30 July 1919, The Times reported Colonel Lambert Ward, Conservative MP for Kingston-upon-Hull, asking for an assurance from the Secretary of State that "no difference should be made between the graves of those men who in France and Flanders were killed in action or died of wounds or disease and the graves of those unfortunate men who were tried by Courts-martial and shot for cowardice or desertion in the face of the enemy. These men were not cowards. Many of them volunteered in the early days of the war. They tried - and they failed. Surely it is better to have tried and failed that never to have tried at all. (Hear, hear.)"