Partner W. Somerset Maugham

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Ferncliff Cemetery, 280 Secor Rd, Hartsdale, NY 10530, Stati Uniti

Frederick Gerald Haxton (1892 – November 7, 1944), a native of San Francisco, was the long term secretary and lover of novelist and playwright W. Somerset Maugham.[1]

He and Maugham met at the outbreak of World War I when they both began serving as part of a Red Cross ambulance unit in French Flanders.[1]

Maugham, and to a lesser extent Haxton, had been affected by the trial of Oscar Wilde. Common to men who were either homosexual or in the case of Maugham who had sexual relationships with both men and women (Maugham had had an affair with the actress Sue Jones before meeting Haxton and later had a child with Syrie Wellcome whom he married), neither spoke of their situation for fear of recrimination.[1]

Somerset Maugham spent most of his life in exile in the south of France, of course in part because he liked the place, but largely because his American lover Gerald Haxton had been declared an ‘undesirable alien’ in Britain. In 1915, on leave in London from active service in France, Haxton had been arrested and charged with ‘gross indecency’, but not convicted. When a hotel off the Strand was subjected to a routine military police raid in search of deserters, Haxton had been found in bed with a man called John Lindsell. Both men were represented, in the Old Bailey on 7 December 1915, by eminent lawyers, presumably found (with the help of his lawyer brother Freddie, destined to become Lord Chancellor) and paid by Somerset Maugham. According to subsequent rumour, Maugham himself had been arrested as well but used his influence to have his name removed from the details of the charge. In later years whenever Maugham travelled to London, he had to go on his own; Haxton, poor thing, was left to languish on the Riviera.

After touring the South Pacific islands, Haxton was aboard the Hitachi Maru en route to South Africa when the ship was captured by the German raider SMS Wolf in September 1917. Haxton was a prisoner aboard the Wolf until February 1918 when the Wolf returned to Germany and he was transferred to a German prison camp. He was reunited with Maugham in 1919.[2]

On attempting to return in February 1919 he was deported from Britain as an undesirable alien and was never allowed to enter the country again.[1] Haxton's Home Office file, containing the reason or reasons for his deportation, is sealed until 2019.[3] Robert Calder speculates that Syrie Maugham may have used her high connections in the British government to have Haxton deported.[4]

Because Maugham and Haxton traveled abroad and chose to live on the French Riviera in the "Villa La Mauresque", they were able to carry on their relationship despite Haxton's deportation. They lived in Villa Mauresque at Cap Ferrat almost exclusively until they were forced to flee the advancing Germans at the commencement of World War II.

It is thought that Haxton's flamboyant nature, said to be portrayed in the character Rowley Flint in Up at the Villa, was the key to Maugham's invitational success with the members of society wherever the pair traveled.[1]

Haxton continued as Maugham's constant companion for 30 years, until he died in a private room in the Doctors Hospital, New York. Maugham later placed the following dedication in his 1949 compilation, A Writer's Notebook: "In Loving Memory of My Friend Frederick Gerald Haxton, 1892–1944".


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