David LAUGHTON was born in Rugby on 10 – or possibly 11 – October 1890. He was the third child and second son of George Varnsvary Laughton (b.c. Q3, 1859 in Lutterworth) and Eliza Ellen, née Allen, Laughton (b.c.1863 in Attleborough, near Minestay, Warwickshire), who were married on 25 December 1885 at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby when George was living at 25 Cambridge Street, Rugby.
In 1887 when their daughter Emily was baptised the Laughton family had moved to 130 Cambridge Street, Rugby. George was a ‘painter’. For the 1891 census, David had ‘arrived’ and was 5 months old, the youngest of three children all born in Rugby, and the family was now living at 2 James Street. His father was a ‘Painter L&NW Wagon Depot’.
It seems that the family then moved for some six years to Earlestown, Lancashire, where a son, Joseph Edmund was born in about 1892, and a daughter Lilian May in 1896. They moved back to Rugby before the birth of their son, George in about 1900. In 1901, they were living at 25 Abbey Street, Rugby, and David’s father was still a ‘Railway Wagon Painter’.
By 1911, the growing family had moved to a six room house at 147 Oxford Street, Rugby. David’s parents had been married for 25 years and they had had eight children, of whom seven were still living. They had entered Evelyn, b.c.1898, with status ‘dead’ on the census and then realised their error and deleted her – they would not realise how useful such ‘errors’ would be to future research.
Also entered at the end of the list of children was a William Allen Laughton, born in Attleborough in about 1882, it would seem that this was Eliza’s son, from before her marriage, who had probably been adopted into the family, although no definite trace of him has yet been found, in earlier censuses, either as an Allen or a Laughton.
In 1911, David Laughton was now 21, single and working as a ‘Clerk (Engineer’s)’ at Willans and Robinson. He may have been involved in ‘War Work’ and thus did not join up early in the war.
He married Barbara S Mochril in Rugby in Q3, 1918, and her later address was also given as 147 Oxford Street, Rugby, the Laughton family home. [It seems likely that it was Barbara’s sister, Jeanie S Mochril, who married with a Ralph Austin in Rugby on the same day. However, apart from a possible mother’s death, that surname is otherwise unknown.]
There is a Royal Navy Record card for David, that shows that soon after his marriage, he joined the Navy as No:M.34139 in the Portsmouth Division on 15 October 1918, for the ‘period of hostilities’.
When he joined he was 5ft 5inches tall, with a 32inch chest, dark blond hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. His Record for his very short period of service stated that he had a ‘VG’ [very good] character and a ‘Sat’ [Satisfactory] ability.
He served on Victory I, as a ‘Writer 3rd Class’. He was probably still working as a Clerk in a ‘Pay Office’ in Portsmouth,
It seems likely that ‘Victory I’ was a base depot at Portsmouth, probably used as an accounts office dealing with pay. It does not seem to be listed in WWI, but was at Goodings near Newbury as an Accounting Base from September 1940 in WWII. The 1866 Naval Discipline Act stated ‘Ships of War’ in its text, and to ensure that that Act could be applied to Shore Bases, they had to have a named parent ship. Hence Victory for the shore base at Portsmouth.
Sadly, only some three weeks after he had enlisted and the day before the war ended, he died of Pneumonia in Haslar Naval Hospital.
His ‘Cause of Death’ was given as code ‘3’, and elsewhere as ‘Died from Disease’. Another record is more specific, and states that he died from ‘Bronchial pneumonia’ – which was probably as a result of the ‘Flu’ epidemic that was sweeping the world.
He was buried in the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, Gosport, Hampshire, in grave ref: 37 11. The cemetery is also known as Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery.
‘During both wars, Gosport was a significant sea port and Naval depot, with many government factories and installations based there, as well as the Haslar Naval Hospital. … Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery, which was attached to the Naval Hospital of 2,000 beds, contains 772 First World War graves, 2 of which are unidentified. Most are scattered throughout the cemetery, …’
David Laughton’s CWGC memorial headstone has no additional family inscription.
His short Service, still entitled him to the British War Medal, and he is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.
His widow, Barbara, married again. Her marriage with William C Keep was registered in Edmonton, Middlesex in Q1, 1923. David’s mother died in Rugby aged 69 in 1934; his father, also in Rugby, in 1952
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM
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This article on David LAUGHTON was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, September 2018.
 In WWI, a 1st Class Writer was classed Petty Officer, 2nd Class Writer a Leading Rate and 3rd Class an Able Rate.
 UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919.