John Laughton was a Sidney boy from Durban in South Africa. His father, known as Pom-Pom, was born in the Isle of Man and was a successful lawyer and QC. John, one of six brothers, was born in September 1891 and was at Oundle from 1906-09. He was a keen rugby player and later played for Natal. At Oundle, he was a member of the XV for two years but in a supporting role. In the first year, he was described as ‘the best of the rest’, being a useful reserve forward.
In Michaelmas Term 1909, the term he left, he played regularly at No. 8. With his help, Sidney won the House Rugby in both 1908 and 1909, beating first Grafton in a final which was described as “not of a very interesting character,” and then romping home against Dryden, the next year by 33 points to nil.
Before the War, he attended agricultural college but then served in the South African Volunteer Force when hostilities began. Little is known of his military career. At some stage, he was invalided out of the army and died, after a long illness, on 19th July 1918. He was 26 years old.