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George Mawby Ingram (1889–1961)

by Darryl McIntyre

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George Ingram, c.1918

George Ingram, c.1918

Australian War Memorial, J03067

George Mawby Ingram (1889-1961), soldier and carpenter, was born on 18 March 1889 at Bagshot near Sandhurst (Bendigo), Victoria, son of George Ronald Ingram, farmer, and his wife Charlotte, née Hubbard, both Victorian-born. Educated at Seville State School, he was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner. He later went to Caulfield, Melbourne, and worked as a carpenter until 1914. On 19 January 1910, at East Prahran, he had married Jane Francis Nichols with Congregational forms. There were no children of the marriage which was dissolved in 1926 with Ingram as petitioner, the grounds being desertion by his wife.

In 1905-14 Ingram was a member of the militia forces and was attached to the Australian Garrison Artillery. On 10 December 1914 he enlisted as a private with the 3rd Battalion, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, and served in New Guinea until his discharge on 19 January 1916; he immediately enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was allotted to the 16th Reinforcements to the 24th Battalion. In January 1917 he joined his unit in France. Within the next nine months he received promotions from corporal to company sergeant major and was awarded the Military Medal for 'great courage and initiative as a member of a bombing section' at Grevillers, near Bapaume, in March. He was in hospital from April until June and again during September and October, after which he rejoined his battalion. On 20 June 1918 he was appointed second lieutenant but three days later he was evacuated with illness, resuming duty on 12 July. He was promoted lieutenant on 24 October.

Ingram was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the last Australian infantry action, the attack on Montbrehain on 5 October. In the advance which began at dawn the 24th suffered heavy casualties because of strongly defended enemy positions. Without hesitation Ingram, at the head of his platoon, rushed a post, captured nine machine-guns and killed forty-two Germans who had shown stubborn resistance. Later, after his company had suffered severe casualties and many officers had fallen, he took control of the situation once again, rallied his men under intense fire, and led them forward. He rushed another fortification and overcame serious resistance. Twice more that day he displayed great courage and leadership in the capture of enemy posts and the taking of sixty-two prisoners.

A tall man of robust physique and quiet and unassuming character, Ingram paid tribute to the bravery of the men in his company during the advance. In April 1919 he returned to Melbourne and on his discharge became general foreman with E. A. and Frank Watts Pty Ltd, building contractors. He married a widow, Lillian Wakeling, née Hart, on 10 February 1927 at the Methodist parsonage, Malvern, giving his occupation as farmer. After the completion of Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, he became a guard there. During World War II he served with the Royal Australian Engineers and attained the rank of captain.

Ingram's second wife died in May 1951 and on 24 December he married another widow, Myrtle Lydia Thomas, née Cornell, at Brunswick Methodist Church. Survived by his wife and their son, and a son from his second marriage, he died of coronary vascular disease at his home at Hastings on 30 June 1961 and was buried in Frankston cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • W. J. Harvey, The Red and White Diamond (Melb, 1920?)
  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1918 (Syd, 1942)
  • L. Wigmore (ed), They Dared Mightily (Canb, 1963)
  • London Gazette, 11 May 1917, 6 Jan 1919
  • Mufti, Nov 1937
  • war diary, 24th Battalion, AIF (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

Darryl McIntyre, 'Ingram, George Mawby (1889–1961)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 24 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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