SECOND LIEUTENANT ALFRED EDWARD IKIN
ROYAL FLYING CORPS
11TH MARCH 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: LAPUGNOY MILITARY CEMETERY, BETHUNE, FRANCE
The architect of the universe is how the sixteenth-century reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564) regularly referred to the Christian God. The Great Architect of the Universe is how Freemasons sometimes refer to their undefined deity who could be called God, Krishna, Buddha, Allah or by any other name according to the member's belief.
Alfred Edward Ikin's father, who went by the same name, chose his son's inscription. There is no evidence that he was either a Calvinist or a Freemason but the omission of the word 'Great' inclines me to think that if he was either it was probably the former.
Alfred Jnr was the eldest son of Alfred and Eliza Ikin. Alfred Snr was a scientist and an educationalist who retired as the Director of Education for Blackpool. Alfred Jnr's obituary in the Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer on 23 March 1918 explains in what way he was a promising mathematician:
"At 14 [he] gained honours in Cambridge Local Examinations and passed the London Intermediate Science Examination three years later. Afterwards he won a Board of Education Exhibition of £50 a year at Cambridge and also an open scholarship at Clare College."
Ikin never took up these scholarships. Instead, on leaving school he enlisted in the 28th London Regiment before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps.
Reports of his death simply state that he was killed while flying in France. The 4 April 1918 edition of Flight Global records that,
"For two months before going to France Mr Ikin had been engaged in night flying against enemy raiders; but more recently he had taken part in night-bombing over the enemy lines and on other special flight work."
The newspaper account of his death concludes with these words from his commanding officer:
"The service has lost a keen and intrepid pilot, and I have lost one of the most efficient officers of my flight."