Hero who has never been forgotten
ALBERT Haughton may have died a hero 60 years ago, but he has never been forgotten.Today the grandson of the only British soldier killed in a French village is preparing to thank the people who have carefully tended his grandfather's grave for 60 years.
ALBERT Haughton may have died a hero 60 years ago, but he has never been forgotten.
Today the grandson of the only British soldier killed in a French village is preparing to thank the people who have carefully tended his grandfather's grave for 60 years.
Mr Haughton was killed at the age of 44 in the village of La Chapel Yvon, near Normandy, just months after D-Day.
His loving wife decided to leave the body of her husband where he had fallen rather than transfer him to a military cemetery and the grave has been maintained by villagers ever since.
His grandson David Haughton, from Somersham, said: "He died in September 1944 and then when my grandmother died in 1954 her last wishes were to have her ashes scattered on his grave.
"To scatter the ashes he had to have permission from the French embassy. For years my father had not been near the grave. He wanted to go again about six years ago and one of my customers lived just down the road to where he was buried, about 10km away.
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"She went to the village when she went back and she went to see the lady at the local shop and asked who looked after the grave as it was all covered in flowers.
"It was a family who had looked after the grave through the War Commission, I think, for many years. So I took my father over there just to meet all the people that looked after the grave and we all became quite good friends."
Mr Haughton said a commemoration service would by held on June 6 – the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings – by the village war memorial.
"They have invited us over and I am doing a speech and we are giving a seat with a plaque on it to say thank you," he added.
"There was one Frenchman, who was a member of the Free French Airforce, who paid for flowers on the grave to the end of his life."
Mr Haughton said his speech of gratitude had been difficult to compose, not least because he does not speak French.
"When I go there, it's a funny sort of feeling. He died 16 years before I was born, but I feel quite emotional about it, especially because my grandmother's ashes are there as well," he added.
Mr Haughton will visit the French community with his wife, his father Peter, who was 15 years old when Albert was killed, and his uncle Alan.
His grandfather served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and was working with tank recovery units when he was killed.
N Don't forget to get your copy of The Evening Star's D Day supplement this Saturday.