Today, it is with deep gratitude in
my heart and in my thoughts that I would like to pay a
very respectful tribute to Major General Edward Charles
Ingouville-Williams who commanded the 34th Division of
the "Buffs" and who was killed in action 104
years ago,on July 22, 1916 at the age of 54 on the Somme
Edward Charles Ingouville-Williams was born
13th December 1861 at Purbrook, Hampshire, England, and
was the son of General Sir John William Collman Williams
and of Georgiana Isabella, daughter of George Ingouville
a landed proprietor and Albina Ingouville, of La Fregonniere,
Jersey.Edward was married to Florence Kelly and they had
a daughter, Aileen Ingouville-Williams Ansdell.They lived
at Oaklands,Stakes Hill,Cosham,Hampshire,England. He had
three brothers, Major General George Williams, Admiral
Hugh Pigot Williams and Colonel William Williams.
Edward Charles was commissioned as an officer
to the 3rd Foot Regiment (East Kent Regiment known as
'The Buffs'), as Second Lieutenant, from the Militia on
the 23rd April 1881. He was promoted to rank of Lieutenant
with the The Buffs, on the 1st July 1881. He served in
the Sudan Expedition, 1884-85 (Nile), as Special Officer
for Boats (Staff Captain), and received the Medal with
clasp, and Khedive's Star.
He was promoted to rank of Captain on the
1st November 1892. He was Adjutant of The Buffs from 20th
May 1894 to 21st January 1898. From 22nd January 1898
to 10th April 1899, he was specially employed with the
Egyptian Army, as Special Service Officer, and served
in the Nile Expedition of 1898, taking part in the battles
of Atbara and Khartoum, where he was in charge of Transport
arrangements, and in command of the Army Transport Corps
with the British Division during the Khartoum operations.
He was mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette, 24th May
and 30th September 1898),was given the Brevet of Major
on the 16th November 1898,received the Medal and the Egyptian
Medal with two clasps. In the Nile Expedition of 1898
he was Brigade Major with Colonel Kitchener's Brigade
and served as DAAG (Deputy Assistant Adjutant General)
to the Kordofan Field Force, and received a clasp to the
He served in the South African War from
1899 to 1902, on Sir Charles Warren's Staff,as Assistant
Provost-Marshal, November 1899 to 19th May 1900,Brigade
Major from May to 31st December 1900,Commanding Mounted
Infantry Corps, and Commanding a Mobile Column from the
1st January 1901 to 25th September 1902.
On the 20th August 1901, Edward Charles
Ingouville-Williams' Mobile Column transported General
De la Rey's mother to the Klerksdorp concentration camp.
He was present at the Relief of Ladysmith,
including operations of 17th to 24th January 1900,action
at Spion Kop,operations of 5th to 7th January 1900, and
action at Vaal Kranz,operations on Tugela Heights 14th
to 27th February 1900, and action at Pieter's Hill. Operations
in Natal, March to June 1900, including actions at Laing's
Nek (6th to 9th June). Operations in Orange Free State
and Transvaal. Operations in Orange River Colony, January
to May 1901. Operations in the Transvaal, May 1901 to
31st May 1902. He was mentioned in Despatches (London
Gazette 8th February 1900 (Sir R H Buller),30th March,
17th June, and 9th November 1900 and London Gazette, 9th
July to 11th October 1901), was given the Brevet of Lieutenant
Colonel on the 12th October 1901,received the Queen's
Medal with six clasps,King's Medal with two clasps, and
was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
(London Gazette, 19th April, 1901): "Edward Charles
Ingouville-Williams, Major (now Local Lieutenant Colonel),
The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). In recognition of services
during the recent operations in South Africa". The
Insignia were presented in South Africa.
His elder brother Major George Albanus Williams
was killed in action during the South African War, at
Tweefontein on the 25th December 1901 (aged 41) whilst
serving with the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment.
In 1902 it was reported in the Times (30th
October 1902) that he changed his name by Deed Poll (in
September 1902) from "Williams" to "Ingouville-Williams"
it is believed in memory of his mother who's maiden name
was Ingouville. His mother Georgiana Isabella Williams
(nee Ingouville) had died at Portsea Island, Hampshire
in 1867 (aged 29).
He was transferred to the Worcestershire
Regiment on the 4th April 1903 and was given command of
the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment at Bloomfontein
on the 3rd March 1904, and becoming Lieutenant Colonel
on the 10th March 1904. On the 22nd October 1904 he embarked
with the 2nd Battalion from Durban and sailed to Colombo,
Ceylon, arriving there on the 5th November 1904. The 2nd
Battalion Worcestershire Regiment remained in Ceylon throughout
1905/1906. In December 1906 the 2nd Battalion moved by
sea to Bombay, India on route to Ahmednagar where on the
10th October 1907 the 2nd Battalion was given new colours
by the Viceroy, The Earl of Minto. In January 1908 the
2nd Battalion moved to Poona. In March 1908 Edward Charles
Ingouville-Williams completed his command of the 2nd Battalion
Worcestershire Regiment and handed over command to Lieut.-Col.
H. de. B. Hovell DSO.
He was created a CB in 1910; was Commandant,
School of Mounted Infantry, Longmoor Camp from the 1st
March 1910 to 17th June 1912,was given the rank of Brevet
Colonel on the 25th December 1905,became Colonel on the
10th March 1908.
Edward became a Temporary Brigadier- General
from the 18th June 1912 to 2nd June 1915 and was Commanded
the 16th Infantry Brigade, Irish Command, from the 16th
June 1912 to 4th August 1914.
On the outbreak of the first world war he
took his Brigade to France, commanding it until he was
promoted to Major- General, in June 1915, for distinguished
service in the field, and given command of the newly formed
34th Division, which he trained and took to the front
in January 1916, being in the front line till 4th July
when the Division was withdrawn to refit, but was again
put into the line, with two fresh brigades to replace
the 102nd and the 103rd, which had lost heavily. The Division
was in the fighting line till the 19th July when it was
again withdrawn to rest and to refit.
After the Battle of the Somme in July 1916,
Major- General Ingouville-Williams paid the following
tribute to his men: " My men did glorious deeds.
Never have I seen men go through such a hell of a barrage
of artillery. They advanced as on parade, and never flinched.
I can't speak too highly of them. They earned a great
record. But, alas ! at a great cost. I am very sad at
losing all my brave fellows, but so glad that their grand
work is appreciated by the Corps Commander, Army Commander
and Sir Douglas Haig. My brave men had to face a long
advance to reach their objective. They were swept by that
awful barrage,double barrage. Some got through, but could
not. remain so far off without support. They did their
duty nobly. Never shall I cease singing the praises of
my men, and I shall never have the same grand men to deal
with again. I think they have done their part well, and
their attack made all the subsequent success possible."
Although he was renowned as a stern disciplinarian,
he was affectionately known by his men with the nickname
On the 22nd July Major- General Ingouville-Williams
went with his Aide De Camp to the Bois-de-Mametz to make
a personal reconnaissance of the ground where he was to
take his Division into action the following week,on the
bank at Queen's Nullah, south-west of Mametz Wood, after
having walked back from Contalmaison round the south side
of the wood to meet his car which was at Montauban, he
was caught in a barrage of fire and was hit by a piece
of shell which killed him instantly. He was 54 years of
age when he was killed.
He had been mentioned in Despatches four
times for his services in the war.
Today,Major General Edward Charles Ingouville-Williams
rests in peace with his men in the Warloy-Baillon Communal
Cemetery Extension, Somme, and his grave bears the following
inscription "Greatly beloved".
Edward, Sir, today I stand in front of you
with respect and admiration just like the men who were
under your command and who saw in you more than an officer,
they saw in you a man of honor with great heart that cared
for them, they saw in you their fathers, a man who guided
them with affection. you who have spent your life in the
army, in wars, you have done more than your duty by leading
generations of young men in battle, men that you admired
and that you were very proud of and I imagine the pain
and sadness it must have been for you to see so many of
these young men falling on the battlefield.today your
men rest in peace near you and we watch over them with
the respect, love and affection that you had for them,
we will always be present for them, you and your men have
served with exceptional bravery and we will never forget,
your name, your history and the history of your men will
live forever in grateful remembrance, in our hearts and
in our thoughts, you will live eternally in each of us.
© 2020 François Berthout