Charles Ingram Inglis

Sacred to the memory of Charles Ingram Inglis, Gunner R.G.A., died 7th March 1919 aged 37; wife Margaret T. C. Strachan died 13th April 1967 aged 84

CWGC: Gnr C. I. Inglis, 332nd Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery; service no. 216401; d. 7 March 1919, a. 37;  Y 164

This is one of the sadder of our 30 WW1 burials in the Grange as Charles Ingram Inglis committed suicide in hospital soon after arriving back in England from France.

Charles Ingram Inglis was born in St Madoes, Perthshire, on 13 January 1882, the youngest son of George Inglis, a schoolmaster, and his second wife Jane Stuart.  George Inglis died in 1889 aged only 43 and his widow moved to Edinburgh.  In 1891 she was living in Warrender Park Road with her stepson William Francis Inglis, 20, a bookkeeper in an insurance office, and four of her children: George, 14, a telegraph messenger, John and Jane, aged 10 and 6 and both scholars, and Mary, 2.  Charles, however, was in Cauvins Institution in Duddingston.

Louis Cauvin (1754-1825) was a well-known teacher of French in Edinburgh and also farmed at Duddingston. By the time he retired from teaching in 1818 he had acquired a considerable fortune, and built a house at Duddingston for himself. He bequeathed his house and fortune for the establishment of a hospital for the maintenance of 20 boys, sons of teachers and farmers in reduced circumstances, aged between 6 and 8 on admission. The original building was extended and opened in 1833 as Cauvin’s Hospital.  The 1891 census lists a matron, cook and two maids and 19 boys aged between 8 and 15, including Charles then aged 9.

In 1901 Charles was living with his mother and sisters in Argyle Place and was working as a clerk.  He married Margaret Todd Cuthbertson Strachan at Partick on 13 June 1908 and three years later was living at 7 Montpelier Terrace, Edinburgh, with his wife and their eldest son, Stuart Ingram Inglis (1909-72).  Charles was listed as a Clerk, working for a “Wine & Spirit & Beer Dealers”.  The years before the war were not good ones for the family – no fewer than three of Charles’ brothers and sisters (Jane, Mary and George) died from phthisis (T.B.) in the City Hospital between 1908 and 1913.

Charles was called up in 1918 and his employers, John McEwan and Co., wholesale and retail wine and spirit merchants, 109 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, appealed against this on grounds of his occupation and serious hardship.  The appeal was heard on 25 April and dismissed, although the military tribunal said he should not be called up till 30 May 1918.  The appeal papers reveal that he was the manager of John McEwan and Co. and that the firm had a large wholesale business and three retail businesses and were also responsible for the stocktaking of about a dozen other retail businesses.  Of the three partners in the firm only one of them was active, and he was in poor health, while the others were a doctor on active service in Italy and a lady.  The business had an annual turnover of £50,000 p.a. and as well as having a considerable export business were now “contractors for the Government in supplying liquors for the troops abroad”. Charles Inglis had been in the firm’s employment for nine years and was the only man still in their employment of military age and fitness, apart from men employed as barmen in the retail aspects of the business, as all the other men had already joined the army.  He was 36 and married with three children.  He had originally been attested on 7 December 1915 but had been given three previous exemptions to 1 January 1918.  The firm applied for a further exemption for Inglis in March but on 18 April the local tribunal decided that “a man over military age should be secured for the position and that it was not in the national interest that the man applied for should remain in his present position” and recommended that he should not join up till 16 May.  A week later the Appeal Tribunal dismissed the firm’s appeal although recommending the Military Authorities “not to call up the man till 30th May 1918”.

Charles Inglis became a gunner in the 332nd Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery.  He served in France from 16 November 1918 to 4 March 1919 when he returned to England and was admitted to hospital in Devonport.  Three days later, on 7 March, he cut his throat with a razor.  The medical officer in charge’s report stated that his Field Medical card was marked “neurotic, tachycardia”.  The Western Morning News’ report of the inquest stated that the doctor who had seen him and gave evidence said that Inglis “seemed to have had, according to various reports, an unfounded idea that he was suffering from venereal disease, and this no doubt affected his mind”.  The coroner returned a verdict of “Suicide while temporarily insane”.  

Charles’ widow, Margaret, was left with three sons to bring up, the youngest of whom had been born in April 1916 so was not yet three when his father died.

Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits – Louis Cauvin:

Cauvin’s Hospital:

Western Morning News, 11 March 1919;  Western Daily Mercury, 11 March 1919