Herbert John LAUGHLIN

Our World War One Roll of Honour team have been continuing their good work on this important project.

This time they have found one of our forebears who had been misidentified. Lance Corporal Herbert John LAUGHLIN of the Grenadier Guards was a PC in the Great Western Railway Police prior to his war service. He died, aged 34, on 26th July 1917 and is buried at the Canada Farm Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, in Belgium.

He had been misnamed as J LOUGHLIN.

This mistake, on CWGC graves registration report, dated 1921, was shown on his gravestone and had been repeated on the Railway Staff RoH held by the National Railway Museum, and on the BTPHG RoH.

Project team member Ed Thompson, visited the GWR museum in Swindon and together with the museum curator carried out extensive research. They found an entry on the GWR Magazine dated 21/10/1914 which states H Laughlin, Policeman Traffic Department, Paddington, was wounded on active service. There is no further mention of him, however on the Railway Staff ROH held by the NRM there is an entry for H J LOUGHLIN indicating he had been Killed in Action and was a GWR Policeman. The curator carried out extensive searches but could find no reference to support this however the GWR ROH stored in the museum also shows the same entry. He is named as J LOUGHLIN on the CWGC. The curator was convinced that PC Laughlin recovered from his wounds and sent back into action and was subsequently killed on 26/07/1917 and advised Ed to concentrate his research on this fact.

Ed continued his research, including finding an entry in the Army “Soldiers Effects” Register. He also established that H J Laughlin was married to Alice Maria Reade on the 13/01/1912 in Stoke Newington, London, his occupation shown as a policeman.

Ed liaised with the Commonwealth Graves Commission and they have now accepted the misspelling error. The official records have now been amended, their website updated, and the gravestone will be amended in due course.

UPDATE: February 2018
Ed Thompson is pleased to report that he has been advised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that the gravestone of Lance Corporal H J Laughlin has now been amended. They have sent this photograph.

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