Wingate, Malcolm Roy
The second son of General Sir Francis Reginald Wingate, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery, and formerly Governor General of the Sudan, Sirdar of the Egyptian Army and High Commissioner for Egypt. His mother, Lady Wingate DBE, was born Catherine Rundle, daughter of Captain Joseph Sparkhall Rundle, RN. They lived at Knockenhair, Dunbar, East Lothian. His cousin was the famous Orde Wingate, leader of the Chindits in the Second World War.
He entered Mr Bather’s House (Turner’s) from Locker’s Park School, Hemel Hempstead and became a Commoner Prefect, passing with credit through Woolwich and was gazetted to the Royal Engineers in December 1912. He went to France in August 1914 with 26 Field Company and served there until his death. His military record was distinguished: he was mentioned in Despatches in February 1915, and again in March, and was awarded the MC. His DSO was gazetted in March 1915. “For conspicuous gallantry on numerous occasions under dangerous conditions, especially at Givenchy on 27th January 1915, when he led a small party and blew in the head of the enemy’s sap at the White House”. A sap was a narrow trench used to approach or undermine the enemy’s position. Subsequently he received the Croix de Guerre with palms. He was promoted to Captain in 1915 and served for some time on the staff of the Engineer-in-Chief, but at his own request later returned to the front line, being given command of 459 Field Company. He was again mentioned in Despatches in May and December 1917. On 1st January 1918, after 5 years service, he received the Brevet rank of Major.
On 21st March 1918 the Germans began their great offensive. When the attack commenced at dawn that day Wingate’s Field Company were in dugouts in the line between Lagnicourt and Morchies. In a letter to Wingate’s father, Colonel Mackintosh DSO of HQ Royal Engineers explained how his son had died. He was “in an exposed position supervising battle positions in half-light when he was killed instantaneously by field gun HE which burst on the hard road just in front of him”. He was buried that evening. With his letter, Colonel Mackintosh enclosed a map of the position of his grave.
He is commemorated in Bay 1 of the Arras Memorial. There also exists a private memorial, a stone column within railings beside the track from Beugny to Lagnicourt. The memorial is at the spot shown on the map sent by Mackintosh, and which was visited by General Wingate in January 1919. General Wingate arranged to buy the original grave site to raise a memorial, and asked for the temporary wooden cross which had marked his son’s grave and which had been moved to an official cemetery. However, on investigation it was discovered that the body in the cemetery was not Wingate’s, but that of an Australian. General Wingate refused to accept for four years that his son’s body was now lost, and organized searches in the area of the original grave. It is probable that this grave had simply marked the spot where Wingate had been blown to pieces, and that the burial party had not found Wingate’s body when they were consolidating graves into the official cemetery. Wingate’s memorial was erected by the summer of 1922, and is inscribed: “In memory of Major Malcolm Roy Wingate DSO MC Croix de Guerre commanding 459th Field Coy. RE, who fell in action here 21st March 1918 age 24. Beloved son of General Sir Reginald and Catherine Wingate. He served with the BEF from August 1914”. The grave was maintained unofficially by CWGC gardeners until 1929, when General Wingate came to a financial arrangement with the Commission to maintain the memorial. When Lady Wingate died in 1946, her ashes were buried at the memorial: Dame Catherine Leslie Wingate, recalled 10th June 1946. Who knows God does endure his act.
- Surname: Wingate
- Forenames or initials: Malcolm Roy
- House: I
- Years in School: 1907-1912
- Rank: Captain and Brevet Major
- Regiment: Royal Engineers
- Date of Birth: 28th August 1893
- Date of Death: 21st March 1918
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Outer E3
- Decoration: DSO, MC and Croix de Guerre with Palms
- Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on Bay 1 of the ARRAS MEMORIAL