British & Commonwealth Orders of Battle
John Needham Vaughan (3rd County of London Yeomanry and Trans-Jordan Frontier Force)
John Needham Vaughan began the war with 3rd County of London Yeomanry, "The Sharpshooters", an armoured regiment. In November 1941, during Operation Crusader, the regiment was under command 22nd Armoured Brigade. Captain Vaughan commanded a 'B' Squadron tank in the early fighting around Bir el Gubi. On 19th November his tank was hit by fire from an anti-tank gun.
During December 1941 and early January 1942, the regiment re-equipped and reorganised. Not seriously wounded, Captain Vaughan - now Major - assumed command of a composite squadron formed by the regiment on 23rd January 1942. In early February the regiment returned to Egypt to Sidi Bishr camp.
Major Vaughan was next in action at Gazala, where he commanded 'A' Squadron. He was wounded again on 27th May 1942, on the second day of the battle.
The following reminiscences are published with the kind permission of Jeremy Vaughan.
Frontier Force. My friends told me that I was mad to want to join a force that had a very tough reputation. I removed my sling for the interview, was accepted, and joined "C" Squadron, of that Regiment, then stationed at Kadjou, on the Turkish frontier north of Aleppo.
The force was comprised of Arab soldiers, with its Base at Zerka in Trans-Jordan, Its officers were British, seconded from Regular cavalry regiments. On the outbreak of war they naturally wished to rejoin their Regiments, but could not do so unless they were replaced by such as I. Some months later I was posted to Regimental Headquarters, at Ourem el Jose, between Aleppo and Lattakia, as Adjutant. In this position I was entitled to two chargers both fine greys, "Sultan" and "Saladin", about which rude remarks about "The Windsor Greys"' were made when they descended from the horse box that brought them from "C" Squadron to H.Q.
I had also acquired, from the Palestine Police, that excellent dog "Smudge", who accompanied, me everywhere, including breaking down the door of a loo [lavatory] in the Orient Palace Hotel in Damascus because he objected to being separated from me. When I eventually returned, to England at the end of the war, en route to Nigeria, I left Smudge with one Tony Parsons, a gunner, who later became our representative at the United Nations, having by then 'lost' Smudge and acquired a knighthood: a net loss, in my view.
In June 1943 I applied for a Medical Board, and was graded "A". I wrote to the Colonel of my Regiment, the 3rd County of London Yeomanry, informing him of the Board result and asking to be allowed to return to them. Many months went by, whilst I continued to serve with the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force, and I was not optimistic that my request would be granted, as I had heard that General Montgomery was against having officers in the 21st Army under him who had not been with him at the battle of Alamein, when I was in hospital. Eventually permission was given, and I returned to England, rejoining my Regiment some six weeks before they embarked from Gosport on June 7th, 1944, D+1, for Normandy."
[On rejoining the regiment, John Vaughan reverted to the rank of Captain and joined 'C' Squadron. On 28th June 1944 he destroyed a dug-in Panzer IV which had just knocked out three of the squadron's tanks from a range of 80 yards.]
John Needham Vaughan died in October 2001.
Additional details from the War Diary, 3rd County of London Yeomanry.
Jeremy Vaughan is interested to hear from former members of the TJFF or their relatives. Please click here to e-mail Jeremy
05 November 2012
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