So now I have heard back from the Rochdale Library. Unfortunately they could not find a photo or death notice. I am not sure what date ranges they reviewed but it was good of them to have a go. Thanks again to those of you who volunteered to be my legs - very generous.
And speaking of generous, the letter's owner, Ms. Jackie Waters of Memory Catchers has generously sent me the letter stating that her Great Uncle Alf would have wanted that.......I am speechless at her gift.
I now see that the reverse of the letter is return addressed
"Pvt. G. L. Ingham 25262 A Coy. 3 Platoon 19th Service Batt. Lanc. Fus. BEF France"
The letter refers to the first day on the Somme on July 1, when "A" company was nearly annihilated. The CO was wounded at duty and all three platoon commanders were killed. The Battalion war diary (http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=152906&st=0&p=1472527&hl=+19th%20+btn%20+lancashire%20+fusiliers&fromsearch=1entry1472527) notes that the first wave of A company charged a German trench with 40 men and only 4 got within 10 yards of it.
What an extraordindary calm and undramatic tone George adopts in writing about that day.
Sorry to hear that Rochdale Library were unable to find a photo but what wonderful news about the letter, as you state it is a very generous gesture of Jackie.
I have had the honour of reading a few diaries and letters from soldiers of WW1 and am left speechless at the way that they play down the sheer horror and danger of their precarious situation. I have never been able to figure out whether it is a hangover of the Victorian "stiff upper lip" or not wanting their loved ones to know of the true horrors and hardship that they are enduring.
There is also an interesting arcticle posted below it re. Lt Edward Deakin Ashton, his platoon Commander who was killed July 1.
I'm still looking for a photo of George. Pretty much my holy grail as I woud like to sculpt a scale portrait of him and have nothing to work with. Any ideas on where to look would be gratefully received.
Thanks for the update Colin. Sorry to hear that you have not found a photo of George yet.
It would seem that the Death Plaque (Dead Man's Penny) was sold on ebay in 2009. George Leonard INGHAM Born: 1897 Died: 15-Jul-1916 Warloy-Baillon Served: 19th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers Number: 25262 Address: 58, Grouse Street, Rochdale, Lancashire Items: Bronze Memorial Plaque (Death Penny) for sale on ebay 20-Aug-2009 www.townsleyfamily.org.uk/html/contributions_1.htm
Thanks Shred - Yes I knew George's plaque was sold on eBay in 09 and I am pretty sure that I know who sold it. Sadly it was another side of the family in the UK. Not everyone treasures such things. However, not everyone has the financial resources to be able to turn down some extra money coming in from eBay so I shan't judge.
I will watch for it to remerge at some point. The letter it the important thing for me.
I saw that and popped over here to let you lot know...but you beat me to it. Amazing coincidences continue to add up. I've asked the gent for right of first refusal if he ever decides to sell it on. But in any case its marvellous to find it and see the pix.
The gent who owns the plaque and I are in touch and are sharing our respective research. I'm glad to find that there are now 2 of us who care about George's life and death. So the medal has done its job in preserving George's memory. And in the end its just a thing.
I did secure a right of first refusal and I am happy with that as he is not ready to part with it right now. I'm thrilled to see the photos of it. Perhaps that's my reward for not judging.
Thanks for your heads up on the posting on GWF. You guys are great over here. As my GLI interest is now a general Salfords interest now, I will be remaining on site for the long run.
Thanks to Garry for giving me the heads up that George's will is available. As I am a direct descendant, I think I am OK publishing it. Interesting that he made the will June 27, 1916, two days before the originally scheduled date for the opening of the Somme offensive. Its quite unsettling to realise that George was carrying this page in his paybook when he was mortally wounded at Ovillers.