Haddick, Victor Anderson (1887–1950), soldier, traveller, writer, and film maker and promoter, was born 14 June 1887 at Crinkill (Crinkle), Parsonstown (Birr), King's Co. (Offaly), the eldest son of Richard J. Haddick, a soldier, and his wife Jane Anne (née Anderson). He was educated for a time at RBAI in Belfast. The 1901 census lists Victor A. Haddick (aged 13) as the second eldest of two sons and three daughters of Jane Anne Haddick (aged 46), head of a presbyterian family, living at 39 Cumberland Street, Birr, King's Co. The 1911 census lists Jane (then aged 50) living with her husband Richard J. Haddick (aged 42) at 9 Cumberland Street, Birr. By 1915 Jane Anne Haddick was living at Roynox Villa, Whitehead, Co. Antrim.
Joining the Prince of Wales Regiment in 1908, Victor became a lance corporal before being commissioned (1914) as second lieutenant in the 1st Leinster Regiment. He was wounded in fighting around St Eloi, France, where his battalion was based, on the Ypres salient in February 1915. Again injured at the Gallipoli landings in the Dardanelles (2 November 1915), after recovering he was posted to the North-West Frontier in India. Haddick, noting the time lost when troops stopped marching to eat, invented a stove and accompanying lamp that could cook meals en train. Contained in a military kitchen car, it was in widespread use by British and Indian troops by 1919. Haddick returned to Ireland with a staff appointment in 1922. The Leinster Regiment was disbanded that year, but Haddick retired as lieutenant-colonel in 1923 before his commission was transferred. His successful application (11 February 1924) for fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society was seconded by John Baptist Noel, the mountaineer and photographer.
Returning to India in early 1924 as a captain in the Indian Army, en route he traversed Turkey and Iraq, visited the Andaman Islands, and finally crossed Burma into India. Haddick was part of a photographic party, led by Noel, that covered the ill-fated Mallory and Irvine expedition to Mount Everest; Noel had acquired the photographic rights and took with him colour photographic equipment weighing over 900 pounds. They traversed the Sikkim range (surrounded by Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan) in the Himalayas, attempting to set a new record for ascending in 'a mechanically propelled vehicle' (a Citroën-Kenegress tractor) into Tibet. Geopolitically sensitive trials concerning the ability to operate mechanised military machinery in the region may have been a secondary objective. Haddick lectured on the expedition's exploits (including the loss of Mallory and Irvine at high altitude) across India in late 1924 and then travelled with seven Tibetan Buddhist monks, touring Noel's ensuing The epic of Everest (1924) film and accompanying lecture across Europe. The film, and the touring troupe of monks, greatly offended the Dalai Lama and civil powers in Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan, engendering chilly Anglo–Tibetan relations that inhibited further attempts on Everest until 1933.
Haddick gave a series of talks on BBC radio about life in the Andamans (September 1926), his experiences in Turkey (January 1927), and his time serving on the North-West Frontier (August and September 1927). In April 1928 he gave a talk in Limerick about his time in the Himalayas, for the benefit of the Irish Legion of ex-servicemen, and followed it with illustrated talks and films as he led marketing rallies across Ireland. Haddick's career as a military PR man, raising funds for the legion and also as representative in the Irish Free State of the Empire Marketing Board (est. 1926), demonstrated the nuances possible within Anglo-Irish identity during the decade after independence. Promoting silent films which drew on his experiences, such as India, past and present and Romance of Turkey, led him towards a career in the film industry. For Ireland's rough-hewn destiny (1929), in which Gearóid Ó Lochlainn played an Irish-speaking St Patrick (qv), Haddick was due to give an accompanying lecture under the auspices of the Irish Literary Society at the Imperial Institute in London (November 1929), which was cancelled due to the institute's requiring the playing of the British national anthem. Haddick presented the film to Irish audiences at the 1930 RDS spring show, and was adept at negotiating cultural and political identities across and within the British Isles.
He had a hand in the production and writing (widely billed as 'producer and author') of Voice of Ireland (1932), the first sound film made (silently) in and about Ireland, notwithstanding the later addition of audio in a London studio. Although interior scenes for 'Ireland's first complete sound film' were filmed at Asdie Studios in London, exterior scenes of fly-fishing, fox-hunting, and various agricultural and industrial endeavours, were filmed across Ireland over the space of a year; six planes undertook aerial photography of all thirty-two counties. Haddick, the director and protagonist, narrates his meandering journey through every county on the island, encountering a range of people and scenes of urban and rural life. The film, starting and ending in Myrtle Grove, Ballinacurra, Limerick, captured the changing nature of Ireland's economy and society. Aimed at expatriate audiences in the UK and USA, it was produced under the auspices of the Irish Tourist Association. Celtic interlacing spirals designed in the Limerick Technical Institute were incorporated into the film. Over ninety minutes long, it premiered at the Savoy cinema in Dublin on 26 October 1932. After a private showing at the Royal Avenue cinema, Belfast, in November under the auspices of the Ulster Tourist Development Association, Haddick emphasised the attention given to Ulster in the film, drawing on his own links with the province. The association had contributed £100 towards the film's production, about a third of which was devoted to Northern Ireland. Also depicting scenes from the recent eucharistic congress of that year, the film's intent to depict and interest all communities on the island was clear; the Free State and Ulster tourist authorities cooperated from the mid 1920s, pragmatically collaborating on a variety of promotional activities. Richard Hayward (qv) performed a number of songs in the Ulster sequences which incorporated the Giant's Causeway alongside depictions of Belfast and Bangor.
Haddick followed this up with Luck of the Irish (1936), directed by the English-born producer-director Donovan Pedelty (1903–89) and starring Hayward, with the remainder of the cast supplied by the Belfast Repertory Theatre Company. Haddick had urged the script upon Hayward, who met Pedelty by chance on a trip to London. The film was financed by Paramount Pictures, with interior scenes filmed at Rock Studios, Elstree, England. Billed as the 'first six-county film', it was produced by Pedelty's Crusade Films in Belfast. The outdoor scenes were filmed near the village of Glynn, near Larne, and at Upton Castle, Templepatrick, indoor scenes at Elstree. It told the story of a declining gentry family increasingly hard on their luck, eventually succeeding in saving their ancestral home in fantastic circumstances. Mixing song, romance and comedy, it formed a sequence of Paramount-backed low-budget musical comedies directed by Pedelty and starring Hayward made in Northern Ireland in the mid 1930s. The importance and extent of Haddick's precise role is unclear; the screenplay was based on his manuscript 'novel', 'Tyr-own', which is not extant. He certainly led the publicity and promotion for the film, made under the 'quota quickie' regime instituted by the UK's cinematographic films act (1927), and devised the treatment and worked on the ensuing screenplay. Premiered in Belfast on 13 December 1935 and enthusiastically received by local society and political figures, it played four times a day at the Belfast Picture House, Royal Avenue, from January 1936 on an extended run.
Buoyed by the success of Luck of the Irish, Haddick was ebullient in the press about his intention to write and produce films about the 1798 rebellion and the construction of the Shannon hydroelectric scheme at Ardnascrusha. Through the summer of 1936 Haddick toured Luck of the Irish across Canada and the US. He emerged the following year writing Devil's Rock, starring and directed by Hayward, who again played Sam Mulhern, the character created by Haddick in Luck of the Irish. Geraldine Mitchell and other Gate Theatre actors were cast in the production. Shot in Cushendun, and along the north Antrim coast, it was released in March 1938 in the UK, directed by Germain 'Jimmy' Burger and distributed by Columbia.
Writing a series of articles on the 'world of films' in the Irish Independent in October 1937, Haddick explained the film-making process from the perspectives of director, writer, production manager, art director and producer. Displaying his wide-ranging 'everyman' experience, he discussed how the industry had evolved since its early days. The series argued for government financial support for the almost non-existent Irish film industry, requiring cohesive organisation and promotion, and noted the benefits of its equivalents in the USA and UK to their economies. Haddick was perceptively attuned to the national income lost to imported foreign-made films, arguing that Ireland's natural beauty, long turbulent history, and literary heritage were all ripe for harnessing to film. Drawing on his experiences in Asia, a series of nine articles on life in Turkey, Tibet, and points in between, followed in July 1938 in the Independent.
By 1940 Haddick was on the army list as acting major (second lieutenant) temporarily promoted to major amongst the officers of the Territorial Army reserve. He undertook a recruiting tour for the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps around the UK, presenting a lecture on 'The Germany we face', but further details of his wartime career are lacking until February 1945 when he gave lectures in a fundraising drive for the UK National Savings Committee. He then commanded the Army Mobile Information Unit until his retirement in April 1950. As Haddick never resigned from the Leinster Regiment, the War Office gave permission in the second world war for his regimental flashes to be especially woven for him alone, allowing him to retain his unique commission until retirement.
Haddick, who had married Kathleen Conroy of Limerick sometime before October 1924, died suddenly at Greenmount, Donaghadee, Co. Down, on 31 May 1950. He was buried 2 June at Millisle. Their daughter Veronica was born 19 January 1929, at Myrtle Grove, Co. Limerick, and had a successful career in American journalism, writing for National Geographic and Gourmet magazine, and later as a producer with ABC-TV and in public relations.