25 October 2017

Can you solve the musical mystery on one of the Commission’s headstones?

Second Lieutenant Hugh Gordon Langton is the only casualty commemorated by the Commission with a piece of music as the personal inscription on his headstone. But what is the tune?


Over the years, there has been much debate about the origin of the notes with many suggesting they could be from the American song After the Ball – however many are unconvinced. With Thursday marking the 100th anniversary of Hugh’s death, we are asking the public if they recognise the music.

Born in Brockley, South London, Hugh was the only son of John Gordon Langton and Emily Langton. A brilliant young violinist, Hugh was a taught by some of the most distinguished musicians in Europe including Otakar Sevcik of Prague and Vienna, Leopold Auer of St Petersburg, and Emanuel Wirth of Berlin – a member of the famous Joachim Quartet.

Hugh married Una Mary Broxholme in December 1913. He enlisted in September 1914, and served with the 2nd/4th Regiment (Royal Fusiliers). He was killed on 26 October 1917, at the age of 32, in an attack at Poelcapelle, during the Third Battle of Ypres. His headstone is at CWGC Poelcapelle British Cemetery, where he is “believed to be buried”.

Do you recognise the tune? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

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