Craig, Hugh (No. 1082514)

Craig, Hugh

Aircraftman First Class

No. 1082514, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Died of disease on Friday 20 November 1942 (aged 23)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Singapore Memorial, Singapore (Column 417)

Memorial plaque in First Saintfield Presbyterian Church

Family grave headstone in First Saintfield Presbyterian Graveyard

BIOGRAPHY

Hugh Craig was born on 19 April 1919 in Ravara and he was baptised in First Saintfield Presbyterian Church.  He was the third son of John and Catherine Craig (nee Wightman) of Ravara, Ballygowan.  John Craig was a farmer and he and Catherine were married on 4 June 1913 in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church.

John and Catherine Craig (nee Wightman) had seven children:

William (born 28 March 1914 in Drumreagh)

Robert John (born 18 June 1916 in Ravara)

Hugh (born 19 April 1919 in Ravara)

Jane Wightman

Kathleen

Margaret Jane

Isabella

Hugh Craig attended Carrickmannon Public Elementary School and, when he left school, he drove a lorry for Minnis Brothers (General Merchants), Main Street, Saintfield.

Hugh Craig and Margaret Carse were married on 3 October 1940 in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church and they lived in the townland of Ballynichol between Ballygowan and Comber.  Their only son, Hugh, was born in May 1941 and it has been said that Hugh Craig Senior never saw his son.

Hugh Craig joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in late 1940 and in February 1941 he sailed from Belfast to Heysham on his way to Blackpool for posting.  He was stationed at RAF Catterick in Yorkshire and in June 1941 he moved to RAF West Kirby in the Wirral Peninsula, Cheshire.  In September 1941 he was posted to RAF Kuantan Pahang in Malaya where he used his skills in lorry driving and maintenance.

Aircraftman First Class Hugh Craig (No. 1082514) was captured by the Japanese and he died of colitis aboard a Prisoner-of-War transport ship on 20 November 1942 (aged 23).  It wasn’t until June 1943 that Hugh’s family received official confirmation of his death through the International Red Cross Committee.  Some of Hugh’s letters to family members arrived after he died and all of them were full of reassurances as to how well he was and how concerned he was for the safety and wellbeing of his family at home.

Aircraftman First Class Hugh Craig (No. 1082514) is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial; on the Craig family grave headstone in First Saintfield Presbyterian Church Graveyard and on a memorial plaque in First Saintfield Presbyterian Church which bears the inscription:

DIED A PRISONER OF WAR IN THE FAR EAST

Hugh Craig’s father John died on 27 June 1958 and his mother Catherine died on 23 October 1967.