The 1901 Census records the Houghtons living at 27 Middle Hillgate, Stockport. 51 year old George Houghton was practicing his trade as a locksmith and was married to 36 year old Sarah. They had three children – Tom (then aged 6), Harry (4) and Emma (2).
Tom had attended the Parish Church School on Spring Gardens and had joined the Marines as soon as he was old enough. When War was declared on 4 August 1914, he was serving aboard HMS Amphion, a scout cruiser, which had the unfortunate distinction of being the first Royal navy ship to be sunk during the War.
On 5 August, Amphion sank the German mine-laying vessel Konig Luise in the English Channel. In a twist of fate, the next day, she hit one of the mines left by the Germans. Tom and most of the crew managed to abandon ship but 132 were killed as well as all the Germans rescued from the water the previous day.
He transferred to HMS Lion and, at the end of the month, was in action again at the Battle of Heligoland Bight. Tom was killed during the Battle of Jutland.
Reporting his death, the local newspaper said that an older brother was serving with the Royal Field Artillery. This was, presumably and error and it should have referred to his younger brother, Harry.