My father, John Henry “Jack” Vaughan, (see photo left) passed away at the beginning of this month, and here is his story: Jack deducted one year from his birth date so that he could join the Royal Horse Guards at 17. In January 1940, the regiment took horses to Palestine and there he rode as many as 70 miles a day through many places mentioned in The Bible, including one day drinking ice cold water from Jacob’s Well. As the war progressed and European countries fell to Nazi Germany, Jack transferred to the Commandos after undertaking specialist training in Egypt. He went to Abyssinia where he took parts in raids behind enemy lines, sometimes covering as much as 200 miles in a day. After a further short spell in Egypt, two commando units went to Crete, but the weather was too rough to land. After changing on to a cruiser, he eventually landed at Suda Bay and fought hand to hand across the island for five days before being captured by the Germans.
He was taken to Stalag VIIIB, where he was incarcerated for four years. His experiences were horrific and he was hospitalised for four months after being severely beaten. Released by the Americans in 1945, Jack returned to the UK and some hospital treatment before resuming Guard duties at Whitehall. He met a Mitcham girl, May Rowles, and they married on 1st December 1945. Later, due to his treatment in the prisoner of war camp, he was disabled out of the Horse Guards. We would very much like to hear from anyone who remembers him.
Received: December 2004
From: Michael Vaughan
On behalf of: His late father, John Henry ‘Jack’ Vaughan