Troop, Steward Houghton

Unit: 7th Battalion, attached 2nd battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

Date of death: 2 December 1917

Age at death: 25

Cause of death: Killed in action

Place of burial / commemoration: Tyne Cot Memorial

From the Pauline Magazine: He went first to Colet Court, where he was in the first XI, and came to St. Paul’s in 1906. He was on the classical side, and left from the special VIII. He went from school to Merton College, Oxford, where he read law, taking a third class in Honours Jurisprudence in 1914. He had intended to be called to the Bar, but war broke out while he was on a tour in Brittany, and he came home at once on a Welsh collier.

Having been in the Oxford O.T.C. for two years, he received a commission at once in the Royal Berkshire Regiment, and went to France in August, 1915. He saw two months’ service at Fricourt and La Boisselle, and then the battalion was sent to Salonica. All the next year was spent near Lake Doiran in continual fighting with the Buigen, and he was specially recommended by his Brigadier-General for the way he rallied and brought back his men after his company commander had been killed. In January, 1917, he was invalided to Malta with malaria and septic poisoning, and later returned to England, where he remained till September, then going out to the Flanders front. Here he met his death at Passchendaele in a night attack. He reached his objective, and apparently went beyond it, but the position could not be held, and he was killed before supports could come up.

His Colonel writes : ” He was at the time of his death most gallantly leading a night attack. He was one of our best and bravest officers, and it is a terrible loss to us all.” Another correspondent says: ” He took his men into the attack like a hero. I have never seen a braver man in my life.”

At school he was best known as an athlete. He was left wing three-quarter in Middleton’s strong team, 1910-11, with his oldest and closest friend, F. L. Wainwright, as his centre. They had played together for years, and knew one another’s play perfectly. Fast and clever, they were as good a vying as we have ever had. Between them they scored 30 tries that season. Troup was a strong and fast miner who got up speed at once and made straight for the line. He was a good kick and a fearless tackler who never missed his man. He kept up his football at Oxford, and played regularly for the strong Richmond team. In 1911 he lost the Shepard Cup by 1 point to John Norman, winning the Quarter in 55 seconds and the Half, and being second in the Hundred and the High Jump. In the previous year he had been mainly instrumental in winning the 0.T.C. Relay Race for “D ” Club. Three weeks before his death he ran fourth out of 110 competitors in a three mile cross-country race in Flanders.

He was in all respects a fine character. He made friends slowly, for he was reserved and sensitive and “took knowing” but he kept them to the end, and all who knew him, at school, at Oxford, and in the army, were the better for his friendship, and to some of them his death has made a blank that cannot be filled. Perfectly straightforward and direct, absolutely straight in every way, he set himself a high standard, and attained it. As one who had known him well at school and at Merton well said: ” Stuart always wanted what was best: he aimed at the big things.’! He could not do a mean act or say an unkind word, but was unflinchingly true to what he knew to be right. The School he loved has lost no better. ” I have lost more than a brother” writes the one who knew him best “and shall never have such another friend.”