No. 3/5735, 5th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders
Died of wounds on Saturday 27 April 1918 (aged 27)
Arneke British Cemetery, France (Grave I. E. 5)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of
Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s)
Family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard
Hugh McCullough was born on 18 March 1891 in Mount Stewart and he was the second son of Alexander (Alex) and Margaret (Maggie) Jane McCullough (nee Shanks) who were married on 23 October 1885 in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s). Alex McCullough (aged 21) from Greyabbey was a son of Hugh McCullough, a labourer. Margaret Shanks (aged 22) from Greyabbey was a daughter of Francis Shanks, a weaver.
The McCullough family lived in the townland of Ballycastle, Mount Stewart, Newtownards
Alexander McCullough was an agricultural labourer and he and Maggie had at least six children:
Annie (born 11 August 1886 in Greyabbey)
Francis Shanks (Frank, born 5 August 1888 in Greyabbey)
Hugh (born 18 March 1891 in Mount Stewart)
Alexander (born 1 May 1893 in Ballycastle)
William John (born 26 May 1899 in Ballycastle)
James (born 21 July 1903 in Ballycastle)
After their father, Alexander McCullough, died of Bright’s disease on 28 March 1910 (aged 47) their mother, Maggie McCullough, worked as an embroiderer. Maggie died on 3 May 1948 (aged 84).
Hugh McCullough enlisted at Edinburgh in August 1914 and he went to France on 1 May 1915. He served with the Cameron Highlanders and at the Battle of Loos in September 1915 he suffered a gunshot wound in his left thigh. He was admitted to hospital in Rouen and, when he recovered, he returned to the line. He had two spells of home leave, the last being in August 1917. Private Hugh McCullough died of multiple gunshot wounds in No. 13 Casualty Clearing Station on 27 April 1918 and the sister-in-charge wrote a letter of sympathy to Hugh’s mother. In the letter she wrote, ‘He had been admitted during the day suffering from a very severe wound of the abdomen and his case was practically hopeless from the first. However, it will comfort you to know that although we could not save his life we were able to relieve his sufferings. He did not leave any message’. Private Hugh McCullough was 27 when he died.
On behalf of all members of the McCullough family Maggie placed a notice in the 11 May 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
The blow was hard, the shock severe,
To part with one I loved so dear;
It was God’s will it should be so,
At His command we all must go.
Had I but seen him at the last,
Or raised his drooping head,
My heart would not have felt so sore,
The bitter tears I shed.
One by one the links are slipping,
One by one they’re called away;
How the circle has been broken,
Will it be complete some day?
But God is good, He will give me grace
To bear my heavy cross;
He is the only one who knows
How bitter is my loss.
Brave to the last
Father, in Thy gracious keeping,
Leave I now my dear Hugh sleeping
Hugh’s brother Alexander served with the Royal Irish Rifles during the Great War and he was also wounded in April 1918. At the time of Hugh’s death Alexander was recuperating in hospital in England.
Rifleman Hugh McCullough (No. 3/5735) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; on Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland (St Saviour’s) and on the family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.