Ingall, Brigadier Francis H B

Ingall, Brigadier Francis H B

Brigadier Francis Ingall, DSO OBE died in California in August 1998 aged 89.

In a varied life as soldier, sportsman, actor and one-time honorary consul, Francis Ingall valued above all his wartime command of the 6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers in Italy and later his role as founder-commandant of the Pakistan Military Academy. Mechanised in India in 1940, the 6th Lancers served in Iraq in 1941 when the pro-British Regent Emir Abdullah was overthrown by the pro-Axis General Rashid Ali. After the restoration of Abdullah they went with the 8th Indian Division to Persia to counter the German threat to the oilfields in 1942. After the invasion of Italy the 8th Indian Division landed at Brindisi in October 1943 and from then on the 6th Lancers fought their way northwards with the Eighth Army. Towards the end of the Italian campaign they took part in the British 5th Corps’ offensive across the River Senio, in which they protected the right flank of the 8th Indian Division. The citation to the DSO that Ingall was awarded records: ‘He fought his regiment with skill, cunning and daring. As the battle developed he seized every fleeting opportunity and by vigorous offensive action cleared pockets of the enemy, greatly aiding the advance to the Argenta Gap.’
Thereafter he led the 6th Lancers in the advance from the Po to the Adige keeping a weakened enemy on the run. As a result he was able to seize bridges over the Po’s lateral tributaries before the Germans could blow them up.

At the end of the war in Europe Ingall returned to India as Chief of Staff of the 8th Indian Division. After partition in 1947 and the division of the old Indian Army between India and Pakistan, Ingall was selected by the C-in-C India, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, as first commandant of the Pakistan Military Academy, established at Kakul. He determined to model the Pakistan Academy on Sandhurst and requested a Regimental Sergeant Major from the Brigade of Guards to help with training. He was lucky, too, to have the support of a number of old Indian Army officers who transferred to the Pakistan Army, among them Lieutenant-Colonel Attiqur Rahman. In spite of facilities which were nowhere near the level of those enjoyed by the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun, Ingall won the confidence of his cadets and instructors. When, late in 1947, the dispute over the accession of Jam and Kashmir led to armed conflict between India and Pakistan, he was able to structure the Academy’s training to enable newly commissioned officers to be immediately effective when they joined units on active service Ingall was appointed OBE after completing his term as commandant in 1950. What probably gave him more satisfaction was the decision to name Kabul’s central lecture theatre Ingall Hall -though this was not built until many years after he had left. He kept in touch with the academy for the rest of his life, making his last visit as recently as last year (1997) when he took questions from an audience of 800 cadets in the hall named after him.

Francis Herman Barclay Ingall was born at Oxted, Surrey, and educated at Hurstpierpoint College and Sandhurst from where he was commissioned into the 6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers in the Indian Army in 1929. His first action with the regiment was at Karawal on the North West Frontier where he led a cavalry charge with drawn sword. In those pre-war years he frequently played polo for his regiment After leaving his post at the Pakistan Military Academy, Ingall was for some years a director of Killick Nixon in Bombay. But in 1959 he took ship with his third wife to San Francisco and spent the rest of his life in the United Sates where he was a vice-president of several corporations, and president of the chamber of commerce of Tiburon. California, besides serving as honorary consul-general for Pakistan in San Francisco He founded the Queen’s Club in San Francisco in the early 1960s to foster friendship between the American and British Armed Forces. He also acted in a number of professional stage productions, spoke on radio and television and lectured widely to university groups and local organisations. Kipling was a speciality of his. Ingall’s autobiography, The Last of the Bengal Lancers, was published in 1988: he and his wife ran a restaurant, The Bengal Lancer, in San Francisco.

Ingall is survived by his third wife, Margaret, and by a son and daughter of his first marriage. A son of his third marriage died as a child.

[Contributed by a personal friend, Mr. John Millar OJ.]

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