Lutonian awarded Military Medal


Sgt Albert Hugh Wingrave, son of a Luton hat manufacturer, was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry while serving in Flanders with the No 2 Signals Section, 108636 Canadian Engineers, 3rd Canadian Contingent.

He learned of the award on July 22nd, 1916. The citation read: "For his splendid and gallant conduct during the action in the Ypres Salient on the 4th June, 1916, in assisting the establishment of telephone communications with a Yeomanry post and successfully maintaining this line under heavy and incessant shell and rifle fire while important messages were being transmitted at a very critical period of the operation." The award was formally announced in the London Gazette on August 23rd.

The Luton News of August 3rd, 1916, said Sgt Wingrave (pictured right) and four other signallers were cut off without food or rest for 48 hours on a ridge between Hill 60 and Hooge, while a German attack was met with a Canadian counter-attack. It was their devotion to duty that earned Sgt Wingrave and two others the Military Medal. A war correspondent at the time described the artillery duel around them as the severest of its kind up to that point. A later report said he had also been recommended for the D.C.M.

Born on November 1, 1888, Sgt Wingrave was a son of Sydney and Martha Ann (nee Wheeler) who were married in 1881. The hat business was at 14 Inkerman Street, where the family also lived for a time before moving to Brook Street and finally to 'St Kilda,' Cumberland Road [later Cumberland Avenue], Leagrave, by the time of the First World War.

Albert had already emigrated to Canada some years earlier and his parents had seen him on only four days since. He had joined the North West Mounted Police, with whom he was in charge of a large district and received special training. He was engaged in telephone work in Edmonton when war broke out, and he enlisted as a signaller with the Canadian Engineers.

Albert Wingrave survived the war and later emigrated to the United States, where he became a naturalised citizen and married Helen. He died in Florida in April 1957 and was buried in a cemetery in New York, the city where he had lived while in the USA.