No. 6984727, 70th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Died as a result of enemy action on Wednesday 16 April 1941 (aged 17)
Belleek (St. Luke’s) Church of Ireland Churchyard, Co. Armagh
Hugh Fulton was born in 1924 and he was a son of William Moffat Fulton and Julia Fulton (nee Chambers) of Tandragee Road, Markethill, Co. Armagh.
William Moffat Fulton was trained as a bootmaker by his father James and he and Julia Chambers were married on 23 May 1912 in Belleek (St. Luke’s) Church of Ireland Church, Co. Armagh. They had twelve children:
Thomas James (born 1 September 1912 in Carrickananny)
David George (born 5 February 1914 in Lurgana)
Robert John (born 27 February 1916 in Tullyah)
Mary Elizabeth (born 1 June 1918 in Tullyah)
John (died in childhood)
Aged 16, and against his parents’ wishes, Hugh Fulton enlisted in Armagh. His brother David was already serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and his brother William was in the Fleet Air Arm. Although Hugh was underage his parents decided not to sign him out – because of his absolute determination to enlist. That decision compounded their grief when Hugh died aged 17. He looked a much older man in uniform than he did before he enlisted.
Fusilier Hugh Fulton (No. 6984727) was one of 13 soldiers serving with the 70th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who died as a result of an air raid on Newtownards aerodrome during the night of 15/16 April 1941.
Between 10.45 pm on Easter Tuesday 15 April and 4.30 am on Wednesday 16 April 1941 there was a large-scale German Luftwaffe air raid on the City of Belfast. Other nearby towns and villages, including Bangor and Newtownards, were also attacked. Areas of Bangor where bombs fell included Ashley Gardens, Bangor Golf Clubhouse, Baylands, Farnham Road, Hazeldene Gardens and Ranfurly Avenue. Fires blazed on Scrabo Hill, Newtownards and bombs fell on Green Road, Conlig and Comber Road, Newtownards. At least 29 people with North Down and Ards connections were killed, including the following 15 civilians.
- Matilda Grattan together with her daughters Angeline Grattan and Shelagh Grattan who died at 40 Ashley Gardens in Bangor.
- Margaret Byers Watt who died at 5 Hazeldene Gardens in Bangor.
- Robert Wright of 32 Baylands, Bangor who died of his injuries in Bangor Hospital.
- Edith, Henry, Isabella and William Dunwoody; Nancy Simms Gribbin; Thomas Morton; Bessie and Ellen Ogle; William Henry Taggart and Evelyn Tate who all died in Belfast.
That night the aerodrome at Newtownards, which was the Headquarters of 231 Squadron, Royal Air Force was attacked. The aerodrome was guarded by soldiers of the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, some of whom were too young for front line service and were deployed instead on the home front. Newtownards aerodrome was attacked with a considerable number of incendiary bombs and some high explosive bombs. One high explosive bomb that fell on the hutments of ‘A’ Company Headquarters killed 13 men, all of whom served with the 70th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Most were killed instantly, and the remainder died the following day as a result of their injuries:
- Fusilier William Bellamy (aged 28)
- Fusilier Samuel Burke (aged 18)
- Lance Corporal Alexander Carlisle
- Fusilier Andrew Copling (aged 16)
- Fusilier Hugh Fulton (aged 17)
- Fusilier George Graham
- Fusilier Daniel Higgins
- Fusilier Leslie Love (aged 34)
- Fusilier Samuel McFarland (aged 19)
- Company Quartermaster Sergeant William McMurray (aged 27)
- Fusilier Ernest McNeill (aged 17)
- Warrant Officer Class II Alfred Penfold (aged 36)
- Fusilier Matthew Wright (aged 18)
The casualties were all taken to Ards District Hospital in Newtownards.
There was another casualty with an Ards connection who died during the night of 15/16 April 1941. Flight Lieutenant Wilfrid Mark Hamilton Brookes (aged 23) of 231 Squadron who was in Belfast at the time was killed during the air raid.
Fusilier Hugh Fulton’s body was brought to Markethill, Co. Armagh by military transport and he was buried in St. Luke’s Church of Ireland Churchyard, Carrickananny Road, Belleek, Co. Armagh. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
ON THE TEARLESS SHORE TO PART NO MORE
WE SHALL MEET OUR LOVED ONES THERE
Hugh Fulton’s father, William Moffat Fulton, was 51 when he died of cancer in 1942. His mother Julia was 64 when she died in 1957 and both were buried in the family plot in St. Luke’s Church of Ireland Churchyard.