The wounded Hartlepool soldier sent home to recover – only to be caught up in bombardment

Charles Ingram.
Charles Ingram.

Charles Ingram could hardly have believed his bad luck.

The Rowell Street resident was called up to serve his country in the First World War and soon found himself on the frontline in 1914.

In just a few months, though, his life, was to be changed forever. He suffered the horrendous ordeal of being gassed in one incident in the trenches.

Somehow, he survived that but worse was to come. He was then blown up and buried alive.

Incredibly, he somehow survived and regained consciousness when he was on a hospital ship taking him back to Blighty.

Charles was sent back to his home town of Hartlepool for a period of convalescence. He arrived on December 15, 1914.

The next day, Hartlepool had the darkest day in its history when it was bombarded by the German navy, leaving 130 dead - but not Charles

He had seen plenty yet he still went back for more.

He was back in France by 1915 and served continuously until he was demobilised in 1919.

Yet his days with war were not over.

The Second World War was to bring more sadness to his life.

He was a senior ARP (air raid precaution) warden and a platoon commander in the Post Office unit of the Home Guard.

He was in good company. Forty seven men in that platoon were veterans of the First World War.

Yet while Charles emerged unscathed from the Second World War, his wife was not so lucky.

She was the unlucky victim of a bomb which dropped on Hartlepool in 1944 during an air raid.

Although she survived the attack, she would never walk again.

Despite so much drama and heartache in such a short time, Charles went on to become a civil servant in his working day.

The son of a Clydeside man, he went into the Post Service and became a deputy head postmaster in West Hartlepool.

Outside of work, it was a very different story.

He played his own special role in Hartlepool life. He became the chairman of the Hartlepools and District Sea Angling Club.

It appealed to his love of the sea which didn’t end there. Every day at 7am, he would rise and spend his time fishing either in a boat or from the Heugh breakwater.

His story first featured in the Northern Daily Mail in 1957.

The story, in a tribute to his love of the finer things in life and not the tragic moments, read; “The milestones of his memory are boats he has owned and messed about in.”

Yet the war was to play one final, and sad, role in his life.

He and his wife had planned to buy a ship to retire on, sail the seas, and be based around the Seine.

But after German bombs left her unable to walk, the plans had to be abandoned.

Our story of 1957 concluded: “Mr Ingram always sails, always a little sadly, alone.”

Anyone with more details on his story cn contact us at chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk