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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland


NEWS

TWO BROTHERS TWO WARS

23 November 2020

The Story of the Haughton Brothers

 

As you drive through the village of Cullybackey, you will notice the blend of old and new.  The old rundown Frazer and Haughton Bleach Factory Hillmount where up until 2006 had provided a lot of employment to the area and then to the new modern housing of Haughton Hall for sale along the picturesque banks of the River Maine.

 

So on this very different Remembrance 2020 Sunday we at Cullybackey Army Cadets wanted to find out who were these Haughtons? How they made their sacrifices to both the Great War and WW2 that followed.

 

Both brothers were born to Mr Thomas Wilfred Haughton and Catherine Isabel Haughton (daughter of Lt Col William Gillmor), Hillmount, Cullybackey and had elder siblings John and Elizabeth. 

 

Thomas a business man went into partnership with Mr J W Frazer establishing a linen business in Belfast & Frazer and Haughton Ltd was also established in 1882 when Hillmount Bleachworks was purchased from the Young Family.  Both brothers would go on to become directors of this company.

 

WW1 – Lieutenant Thomas Greenswood Haughton

 

Before the War broke out Tommy Greenwood Haughton and as mentioned previously was a Director of the Bleach Works.  He attended the Craigs Parish Church and had been the church warden.

 

On the announcement of war he and many from E Company signed up for the war effort. 

 

A very proud Lt T Haughton marched with villagers including Hillmount workers through the village up the Station Road to board the train for what was initially training, but were then sent to the war front, some were never to return to their peaceful home village…. 

 

October 1915 and now part of the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers) Lt Thomas Haughton and his men were fighting on the front.  Thomas was an enthusiastic officer popular with his fellow officers and men and he dutifully sent several letters home to the next of kin of soldiers in his unit who had been killed or wounded. 

 

However it was on the first day of the battle of the Somme 1st July 1916 whilst leading his men to attack the German trenches on a hot July morning that

Lt Haughton was to meet his end.  A gunshot wound to the head and as Rfn Jack Anderson of Princes Street Ballymena wrote in a letter to Samuel Haughton that after the deadly machine gun fire he searched and found his officer lying dead and on tending to him he too was shot and injured!

 

In another letter was sent by Lt. Robbie Hanson, a Larne man also serving with the 12th Btn to Lt. Haughton's brother:

 

Dear Sammy - I know Dempster Wilson has written to you about Tommy, but I just want to write a line and say how awfully sorry I am for you all. I have lost practically all my best friends, and can, perhaps, realise just a little what his own people are suffering.

 

Tommy died like a hero leading his men in a grand charge for the German lines. I think he would have liked that death best. His name will never be forgotten by his friends in the battalion.

 

Lt. Robbie Hanson, 12th Royal Irish Rifles

 

On the 16th July 1916 a memorial service in his memory was held in the Craigs Parish Church.  The employees in Hillmount Bleach erected a brass mural tablet inscription “To the glory of God and in memory of Thomas Greenwood Haughton, Luietenant, 12th B. Royal Irish Rifles, who was killed in action July 1st, 1916, near Thiepval, in the battle of the Somme, France, aged 25 years. When killed he was leading his men in a most gallant manner towards the German trenches”.

 

He was laid to rest in the Hamel Military Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel, Somme, France.

 

WW2 – Major Samuel Gilmor Haughton

Samuel Gillmor Haughton, second son of Thomas Wilfred Haughton, was also of a director of the Frazer and Haughton Ltd.  He married Miss Dorothy Lyall Wilson on 11th September 1912 at St John’s Church Knockbreda Belfast and in 1922 were blessed with a son called after Grandfather and Uncle Thomas Gilmor Wilson Haughton. 

Samuel was involved in many organisations such as the Linen Industry Research Association and the Irish Linen Society.  He was actively interested in politics and keen on farming.  Locally he was vice-president of the Cullybackey branch of the Ulster Farmer’s Union and was president of the Cullybackey Young Farmer’s Club.  He was also vice-president of the County Antrim Agricultural Association. He also enjoy hunting and horse racing belonging to several County Antrim hunts and was a steward of the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders.

Then WW2 came along and the fourty-nine year old did not hesitate to join.  Captain Haugton left his home in village and joined the Royal Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Battery, as second-in-command (2IC) 1938 and served with it in the Middle East, rising to the rank of Major. 

On the Homefront the Frazer & Haughton Factory, became involved in 'The War Effort' and started the production of brass shells for various types of bullet.

Brass arrived at the local Railway Station in the shape of large bars which were then taken by lorry to the Factory. Here they were cut into size and drilled out with an area created for the percussion cap to be inserted.  The Munitions were then forwarded to Belfast be finished. 

Then early in 1944 and serving almost five years in the army Samuel was invalided and returned home, for him the war over.  The following year the war was over in Europe and on the 8th May 1945 Cullybackey was ready to celebrate Victory in Europe Day (VE Day).  Decorations went up on homes and public buildings and at Hillmount works there was fierce competition between various departments – bunting streamers photos and flags.  The village was illuminated that evening with various lights and as a large procession followed the Cullybackey Pipe Band to O’Neill’s Corner they were greeted by Major SG Haughton on a white horse the celebrations continued into the morning…. 

The Major’s maintained his interest in the Army he joined the Territorial Army continued through his appointment as Honorary Colonel of the 248 L.A.A. Regiment, R.A. He was also appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the county and was High Sheriff in 1955.

His previous interest in politics renewed he became an Ulster Unionist M.P., from 1945 -1950.  Post war life continued when……….

Tragedy struck again for the Haughton’s.  Samuel’s only son now Captain Thomas Haughton was killed in an airliner crash at Nutt’s Corner in January 1953, his widow Moyra Haughton (nee Morris) was pregnant at the time and seriously injured sustaining a broken neck and was sedated for the rest of her pregnancy giving birth to a son Michael.

Then 6 years later Samuel G. Haughton died suddenly at his home on 17th May 1959 at the age of seventy.  He was survived by his wife, a daughter-in-law and a grandson. 

A faithful member of Craigs Parish Church, he was laid to rest in the adjoining burying ground were lies a memorial to his brother Thomas.

Two brothers, two wars.  One died and one survived.

But we in cadets like to end on a happier note.  In 1959 Moyra Haughton went on to marry James Dawson Chichester-Clark, Baron Moyola.   Our detachment is cap badged Irish Guards and we were intrigued to find that her new husband had spent 20 years in the army as an officer in the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards!

 

During the Second World War he served in North Africa and Italy, where he was wounded in 1944 during the breakout after the Anzio Landings.  In 1947 he was appointed ACD to Earl Alexander of Tunis, a fellow Irish Guardsman who was then governor-general of Canada. After further military service in Germany and Egypt, he left the army having attained the rank of Major in 1960.

 

The happy ending?   Moyra and James went on to have two daughters (sisters for big brother Michael) Fiona born 1960 and Tara Olivia born 1962.  Mr James Dawson Chichester-Clark went on to have a political career and become the penultimate Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and eighth leader of the Ulster Unionist Party between 1969 and March 1971.