Omitted from publication on 4th Oct 2017.
William Thomas Houghton was born in the second quarter of 1885 to Joseph and Annie Houghton. He was baptised at St. Matthews Church, Rugby on the 30th January 1887. His father, Joseph, was a shoemaker and had married Annie Francis the 17th January 1870 at St. Marks Church, Bilton.
In 1871 William’s parents had been living at New Bilton in Lawford Road, Rugby with their eldest daughter Annie Elizabeth, who was born in 1870. In 1881 Joseph and Annie are with their children, with the exception of Annie Elizabeth, at Back Lane, Bilton, Rugby. By the time of 1891 census Thomas has been born and is with his parents, his brothers and sisters, Harry, Mary, Emily and Frederick; and they now are at 23 Russell Street, Rugby. William’s eldest sister, Annie Elizabeth, is not at home. Harry is working as a Railway Clerk, Mary is a Stay Maker, Emily is a General Domestic, and Frederick is an Errand Boy and William who is only 6 years old at this time. By the time of the 1901 census, William is working as a servant (Page Domestic) at 4, Hillmorton Road, Rugby. His parents have only their granddaughter, Lilly Hipwell 7 years old; living with them at 84 Rowland Street, Rugby. Joseph is still working as a shoemaker.
William’s father died in 1905 and was buried at St Marks Bilton, 22nd March 1905. At the time of Joseph’s death they were living in Avenue Road, New Bilton, Rugby.
William Thomas married Laura Martha Brown in 1909. On the 1911 census they are residing in Kilsby, Northamptonshire and William is a Grocery Manager for the Rugby Cooperative Society. William had also worked at Hillmorton and Bilton as well as Kilsby for the Rugby Co-operative Society. His daughter, Phyllis, was born in 1912.
William enlisted at Rugby in 1916 and joined the 7th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment on November 1916, no. 202847 and had been in France nine months prior to his death in 1917 and would have been involved in the fighting around Ypres.
The Battles of Ypres took place between 31st July to 10 November 1917 and it was during one of these in October 1917 that William would have sustained a wound to the neck. He was then taken to one of the 5 Casualty Clearing Stations at Proven, Belgium. He passed away in the operating theatre on 4th October 1917 at the age of 31 years. His widow, Laura received news of his death from the Chaplain of the Clearing Station. He is buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium, Grave/Memorial V11. B. 29.
According to the records of Soldiers Effects, ( this is money that was owed to William at the time of his death), Laura was sent 11s 1p on the 12th January 1918 and a further 16s 9p on the 23rd March 1918.
Local War Notes Rugby Advertiser, October 13th 1917
PTE. W. HOUGHTON KILLED
In a letter received this week Mrs Houghton, the Chaplain of a clearing station in France communicates the sad information that her husband, Pte. W. Houghton, Machine Gun Corps, died on October 4th. When brought in he was suffering from a wound in the neck. He was in no pain, and quite conscious and cheerful; and in the ordinary way of things it did not appear to be a severe wound. Unfortunately he died on the operating theatre after an operation had been performed. Pte. Houghton was 31 years of age, and was the youngest son of the late Mr. Houghton and Mrs Houghton, Queen Street Rugby. For many years he had been employed by the Rugby Co-operative Society, and was manager successively of the branches at Kilsby, Hillmorton and Bilton. He joined the Warwickshire Regiment on November 7, 1916 and had been in France nine months. He leaves a widow and one child, now residing at Eastleigh, Southampton.
Rugby Advertiser November 10th 1917
HOUGHTON: – In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON 1/7th R. W. Regiment. Who was killed in action on October 4th, 1917, somewhere in France, aged 32 yrs
“Sleep on loved one in your far off grave;
A grave I may never see as long as life and memory last
We shall always remember thee.”
From his sorrowing Wife and Child
HOUGHTON: – In loving memory of Pte. W. T. Houghton, 1/7th R. W. Regiment, who was killed in action on October 4 1917. From his sorrowing Mother, Brothers and Sisters.
“Not dead to those that knew him,
Not lost, but gone before;
He lives with us in memory,
And will for evermore.”
Rugby Advertiser October 5th 1918
HOUGHTON:- In everloving memory of my dear husband, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON,
1/7 R. W. R., who was killed in action on October4, 1917.
“There is a link death cannot sever
Love and remembrance last forever”
Never forgotten by his loving Wife and Child
HOUGHTON:- In loving memory of our dear one, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON, 1/7 R. W. R., killed in action somewhere in France, on October 4, 1917.
“We pictured your safe returning.
And longed to clasp your hand,
But God postponed that meeting
Till we meet in that Better Land”
From his loving Mother, Brothers and Sisters
Rugby Advertiser October 3rd 1919
HOUGHTON:- In everloving memory of my dear husband Pte. W. T. Houghton, 1/7 R. W. Regt. who died of wounds October 4th 1917
“Some day our eyes shall see
The face we loved so well
Some day we’ll clasp our hands in his
Never to say farewell”
Always remembered by his loving Wife and Child
HOUGHTON:- In loving memory of brother Will, who fell at Ypres, October 4th 1917
He answered duty’s call and gave his life for one and all BRO.
F. Houghton, late 6th Batt. Oxon and Bucks.
Rugby Advertiser October 3rd 1920
HOUGHTON:- In loving memory of my dear husband Pte. William Thomas HOUGHTON. Who died of wounds October 4th 1917.
“Christ will link the broken chain
Closer when we meet again”
Never forgotten – by his loving Wife and Child
Rugby Advertiser October 7th 1921
In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. W. T. HOUGHTON , who died of wounds October 4th 1917
“Not dead to those that loved him
Not lost but gone before
He lives with us in memory
And will for evermore,”
From his loving Wife and Child.
It appears that William’s widow, Laura, died in 1922 aged 36, perhaps of a broken heart. Their daughter, Phyllis, who would have been only ten, was probably taken in by her uncle George Brown and his wife. She is living with them in 1939 at 1 Bennfield Road, Rugby. She married a John Reading in 1947.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM