Jack McNaughton

Jack McNaughton

Jack McNaughton, born John Augustus William Howard in Mitcham, Surrey in 1905, was the son of Gus McNaughton and Lottie Govett. Jack appeared in straight theatre, revue and variety in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1938 he toured Australia with Fay Compton and Michael Wilding in Tonight at 8:30 and Victoria Regina before returning to Britain and joining up.  He served as an officer with the 2nd Battalion The Loyal Regiment in the Far East during WWII.

Lieutenant McNaughton was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore, and remained a POW between 1942 and 1945. He was moved between camps, Changi, Keijo in Korea and Omori in Tokyo where he was liberated by the Americans in August 1945.

Even under these difficult circumstances Jack continued to perform. He produced and starred in stage entertainment for the prisoners in Changi gaol alongside acts like female impersonator Gloria D’earie and produced Christmas shows and gave lectures on theatre at Keijo and Omori.

After the war Jack appeared in revue, sang with Norman Hackforth at the Café de Paris and appeared in over 60 films including The Dambusters, The Purple Plane, Camp on Blood Island, The Man in the White Suit, and The Pickwick Papers.

Following success in the Horn of the Moon at Bolton’s Theatre Club, appearing alongside Denholm Elliot, in the 1950’s Jack began to concentrate on directing at the New Lyndsey Theatre and in other small theatres around London. Before he retired he appeared in a couple of episodes of Coronation Street, but his TV career was cut short by the actor’s Equity strike of 1961.

In 1959 he married my mother, Canadian actress Kay Callard, who starred in films like They Who Dare with Dirk Bogard and TV shows of the late 1950s such as The Vise and Knight Errant. They retired from show business to raise a family in rural Cambridgeshire joining Gus McNaughton who had retired there in the 1940s.

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