INGRAM, Lester Neil, Flt. Sgt., 410236
(DOD 22 Apr 1943, Longworth, England)
Lester Neil Ingram was born at Kew, 8 November 1911, the son of John and Ada (Key) Ingram of Research. According to Electoral Roll records, in 1903, John Ingram was a farmer at Lancefield, his wife Ada, a milliner. By 1906, John Ingram was a baker at Research and from about 1912, an orchardist. The family moved to Anglesea River sometime between 1937 and 1942.
A sheet metal worker by trade, Lester had run the bakery business for 14 years, his father retired, and was working as a baker at Anglesea when he enlisted in the R.A.A.F. on 5 December 1941 at Melbourne. Previously he had worked as a baker at Research (1937). He undertook training as Aircrew at No. 4 Initial Training School at Victor Harbour, South Australia, followed by No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School at Ballarat, Victoria, and No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School, West Sale, Victoria. On October 15, 1942 Lester qualified as an Air Gunner, promoted to Sergeant, and was posted to 1 Embarkation Depot at Ascot Vale, Victoria, and attached to R.A.F. UK.
Lester embarked from Australia December 2, 1942 and arrived at 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Depot on January 13, 1943. On March 9 he was transferred to 10 Operational Training Unit, Group No. 91, Bomber Command, R.A.F.
Lester’s service file reveals that on the evening of 22 April 1943, Lester was a member of the aircrew of Whitley V bomber, N.1374. The airframe had run 1,127 hours. A full moon was just rising. The flight was non-operational, its purpose a dual conversion on type mission flown by a student pilot with almost two hours completed at night on similar flights. They had just changed aircraft as their previous aircraft had become unserviceable. The pilot had accepted the aircraft, which was technically unserviceable as the NCO in charge of flight had not completed the inspection paperwork correctly. The aircraft had undergone a major engine repair the day before. The aircraft took off at 2348 hours from R.A.F. Abington. It was reported that the aircraft take-off was quite normal and after climbing to 800 feet it passed out of view of the ground observers. A few seconds later the aircraft crashed, and it was reported that the sound of the engines seemed to become desynchronised. The crash occurred one and a half miles northwest of Longworth, Berkshire and the aircraft destroyed by fire. It carried a crew of five.
Lester was remembered with the following notices published in The Argus newspaper, Saturday 22 April 1944, p2:
- INGRAM. —In treasured memories you are with me still. Sgt. Lester Neil Ingram, killed, aircraft accident, England, April 22, 1943. (Mother and father.)
- INGRAM. —In proud and ever loving memory of Lester, 410236, Sgt. L. N. Ingram, R.A.A.F., air crash England, April 22, 1943. —Per ardua ad astra. (Ellen Peake and family.) [“Per ardua ad astra” is a Latin phrase meaning “through adversity to the stars” or “through struggle to the stars” which was the motto of the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces such as the Royal Australian Air Force.]
And from his fiancé Ellen, in The Argus, Wednesday, 5 May 1943, p2:
- INGRAM. —On April 22 (result of aircraft accident near Lodgeworth Village, Berks, England), Sgt. Lester Neil Ingram, R.A.A.F., fiance of Ellen. -Treasured memories till we meet again.
Lester is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, United Kingdom, Grave 4. 1. 11.
INGRAM, Flt. Sgt. LESTER NEIL, 410236. R.A.A.F.
22nd April 1943. Age 31.
Son of John and Ada Ingram, of Anglesea, Victoria, Australia.
He gave his life
For freedom’s cause
◊ ◊ ◊
LEST WE FORGET
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
ROLL OF HONOUR
Soldiers of the Shire of Eltham remembered on the Eltham Roll of Honour for their supreme sacrifice; located in the Eltham War Memorial Hall
- Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/
- Electoral Roll Records via Ancestry.com
- Family history search , Births Deaths Marriages Victoria https://my.rio.bdm.vic.gov.au/efamily-history/-
- Service Records, National Archives of Australia https://www.naa.gov.au/
- World War Two Nominal Roll, Department of Veteran Affairs, Australian Government https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/ww2
Read the stories of all the men from the Shire of Eltham who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War and to whom the Eltham War Memorial is dedicated.