CAPTAIN LUDOVIC HEATHCOAT-AMORY
ROYAL 1ST DEVON YEOMANRY
25TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 37
BURIED: DAOURS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
This is an ancient French proverb, which translates as 'Do your duty come what may' or, less formally, 'do what you must whatever the results''.
By August 1918, Captain Amory, as he was generally known, was serving on the Staff of 32nd Division when on the evening of 24 August a German aeroplane bombed their Headquarters. Amory died of wounds a few hours later.
His wartime diary has survived and has been published in 'Artillery and Trench Mortar Memories - 32nd Division', edited by R Whinyates. Here a friend describes him in the foreword of the diary as being "characteristic of the best type of Englishman, no man more happy in temperament, more genuinely friendly in disposition". The friend mentions particularly that Amory was always anxious to "carry out his duties to the utmost of his ability" - 'Do your duty come what may'.
Amory's wife, Mary, chose his inscription. The proverb is not meant to be fatalistic but just utterly pragmatic - do your duty come what may. But Mary Heathcoat-Amory could never have guessed what was to come. She and her husband had three sons; Michael, the second son, was killed in an air crash in 1936; Patrick, the eldest, was killed at El Alamein in 1942 and Edgar was killed in Normandy on 23 June 1944. Edgar is buried in Ranville War Cemetery. His inscription reads:
Fais ce que dois
Advienne que pourra
Do your duty come what may.