Proctor, Hilton David

Proctor, Hilton David (Hilton)

Major

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals; First Canadian Parachute Battalion

Killed in an aircraft accident on Monday 7 September 1942 (aged 31)

Buried:

Ottawa (Pinecrest) Cemetery, Ottawa, Canada (Plot 552 Section D Grave 1)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canadian Virtual War Memorial (Internet)

Canadian Second World War Book of Remembrance (Page 108)

BIOGRAPHY

Major Hilton David Proctor’s death was reported in the 12 September 1942 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline Comber Born Paratroop Chief Killed.

Major Proctor’s appointment as leader of the First Canadian Parachute Battalion had been reported in the 15 August 1942 edition of the same newspaper.

Hilton David Proctor was born on 20 August 1911 in Comber and his name was recorded as David Hamilton Todd in both Civil and Church baptismal registrations.  David Hamilton Todd was a son of Hugh David Dugan McCleery Todd and Eleanor Whiteside Todd (nee Coulter) who were married on 30 September 1908 in Dunmurry Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church.  Hugh David Dugan McCleery Todd (aged 26), a publican from Mill Street, Comber was a son of David Todd, a publican.  Eleanor Whiteside Coulter (aged 22) from Comber was a daughter of Hamilton Coulter, a cattle dealer.

Hugh David Dugan McCleery Todd worked as a publican/wine and spirit merchant with premises on the Belfast Road in Comber and he and Eleanor Whiteside Todd (nee Coulter) had at least four children:

Rachil (Rachel, born 30 March 1909 in Cattogs, Comber)

David Hamilton (born 20 August 1911 in Belfast Road, Comber)

Eleanor Coulter (born 21 June 1914 in Railway View, Comber)

Alan (born 25 July 1915 in Belfast Road, Comber)

Their father, Hugh David Dugan McCleery Todd, was 34 when he died of myelitis on 9 February 1916 in Belfast Road, Comber.

Their mother, Eleanor Whiteside Todd (nee Coulter), remarried.  She married John (Jack) Proctor who was the third son of John and Barbara Proctor of Killinchy Street, Comber.  David Hamilton Todd’s stepfather, Jack Proctor, was a brother of James Proctor who was killed in action on 16 August 1917.  Sergeant James Proctor (No. 18594) served in ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles.

After moving to Canada, David Hamilton Todd officially changed his name to Hilton David Proctor and, in 1935 he was chosen as a member of the Ottawa team to take part in the shooting competitions at Bisley in Surrey.  He worked as an engineer for the Bell Telephone Company in Montreal where he helped transfer the city’s telephone system from the old manual exchange to the new dial system.  He enlisted in Montreal and served with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.

After his appointment as leader of the First Canadian Parachute Battalion, Major Proctor went to Fort Benning, Georgia in the USA for training and it was there that he was killed.  It was reported that he died during a parachute jump when a transport plane sheared into his parachute.  Major Proctor had been due to return to Shilo, Manitoba to direct the training of the Canadian Parachute Battalion.

Major Hilton David Proctor was the husband of Dorothy E. Proctor (nee Hutton) who lived with their three-year-old child in Ottawa.

Major Proctor was buried in Ottawa (Pinecrest) Cemetery and there is an inscription on his headstone:

BORN AT COMBER, N. IRELAND

20TH AUG. 1911

DIED AT FORT BENNING

GEORGIA, U.S.A.

Major Proctor is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (Internet) and on Page 108 in the Canadian Second World War Book of Remembrance.