Researched and written by Anne Wright
Lt I R R Brogden
Royal Army Medical Corps
Ingram Richard Rhodes Brogden was described by colleagues at Guy’s Hospital as one of the best known and popular young men there. He was renowned for his cheerful disposition, good humour and diligence. Ingram was often not in the best of health himself as he had previously succumbed to rheumatic fever, but it was difficult to persuade him to rest, even when he obviously needed to. He had followed in his father’s footsteps in pursuing a medical career; he was the fifth child and only son of Dr Richard William Brogden, a surgeon, and his wife Constance Mary (nee Rhodes). Ingram was born on 2 November 1892 in Ipswich. He was educated at Ipswich School (1901-06), Marlborough College (1906-10), Clare College, Cambridge, where he joined the Officer Training Corps and then completed his medical training at Guy’s Hospital. He entered the wards at Guy’s in January 1914 going on to become an Out Patients Officer and later a House-Surgeon. Ingram had a keen surgical judgement and was a very skilled practitioner. He was well liked and respected by his colleagues. On completing his appointment as a House-Surgeon he entered the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) where he was passed fit for duty with garrison forces abroad.
After six weeks he was posted to Blackpool and was soon en route to Egypt. He was aboard H.M.T. ‘Arcadian’ (a former Royal Mail steam packet) carrying 1355 troops and crew when, without warning, she was torpedoed by German submarine U C74 on 15 April 1917 in the Aegean Sea between Salonika and Alexandria. Trooper Reginald C Huggins, a survivor, recalled that:
Within three minutes (official Admiralty time) from the time she was struck all that remained of her was bits of floating wreckage.
Over 1000 people were saved through the efforts of the accompanying destroyer and the fact that many were still on deck as a lifeboat drill had just been carried out. Ingram Brogden was among the 277 who did not survive. At least 8 RAMC officers perished and the large proportion of the RAMC on board suggests that the ship may have been carrying a fair number of wounded to Alexandria.
Ingram is commemorated, along with 500 others who lost their lives when troop and hospital ships were sunk in the Mediterranean, on Mikra Memorial in the Mikra British Cemetery in Thessalonki (formerly Salonika). The memorial is located here because bodies of their comrades from the sunken ships were washed ashore, identified and buried in Mikra Cemetery. It was a great loss to the armed forces in this theatre of war that Ingram was only able to use his skills for such a short time. He is also remembered on the Chapel War Memorial at Ipswich School, at St Matthew’s Church, Ipswich, at St Mary at The Quay, Ipswich, at Marlborough College and at Clare College, Cambridge.
His Uncle and Aunt, Arthur and Eleanor Rhodes lived in Camden House, Thames Street in Weybridge along with Ingram’s cousins Denyse, Godfrey and Dunstan. By 1914, when he enlisted, Dunstan, having married at St. James’ Church the previous year, had moved to Corona in Portmore Park Road. Ingram, Godfrey and Dunstan were close in age, all born between 1888 and 1892. Dunstan survived the war; it was probably Ingram’s Weybridge family who sponsored the figure of St. Alban, which is dedicated to his memory, in the Triptych, in All Souls Chapel of St. James’ Church.
Gifts to All Souls Chapel, St James and St Michael and All Angels Parish Records, Surrey History Centre, 3204/10/8
Guy’s Hospital Reports, Vol. LXX, War Memorial Number,
Huggins, Trooper Reginald C,’Torpedoed in the Aegean’, Everyman at War (1930), ed. C B Purdom, www.firstworldwar.com/diaries/torpedoed.htm
RAMC in the Great War, Profile of Ingram Richard Rhodes Brogden, www.ramc-ww1.com
SS Arcadian [+1917], www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?98825