Brigadier C H V Vaughan
In his foreword to The Red Beret (H. St. George Saunders’ story of the Parachute Regiment), the late Field Marshall Lord Montgomery said that the Parachutist’s duty was in the van of battle and he never failed in any task. This would be a fitting epitaph in war and peace for Brigadier C H V Vaughan who died on 28th March 1976, and whose coffin at his funeral at Llanfachreth Church on 31st March, bore the famous red beret he had worn with such distinction.
Spending much of his early years with his aunt, Mrs. E C. Enthoven at Dolrhyd, Dolgellau, educated at Sherbourne and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1927 he joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers and it was with volunteers (many of them from this area) from the 10th Battalion of the R.W.F. that in 1942 he formed the 6th (Welsh) Battalion of the Second Parachute Brigade.
In command of the Brigade from 1943 to 1946 he took part in the invasions of Italy and the South of France and in 1944 he played a major part in the liberation of Athens when he was awarded the D.S.O.
A soldier of great courage and decision he endeared himself to his men by his humane, no-nonsense approach. One of them recently recalled a tragic incident in their early training days when a member of the squad was killed when his parachute failed to open. Instantly the Brigadier called for a parachute and a plane and proceeded to drop amongst his shaken men.
In his later years, I asked him how he would like to be remembered, as a soldier or as a farmer. Although his reply was not direct I got the strong impression that his second career had given him the greater satisfaction.
In 1956 he inherited from his cousin General John Vaughan, the historic Nannau Estate at Dolgellau and with the same energy and determination that marked his military career he worked tirelessly to refurbish and improve the farm and estate and to create the fine herd of Welsh Black Cattle of which he was so proud. At an age when most men would have retired, he was around the farm at 5.30 every morning and very rarely indeed did he spend a day away from his beloved Merioneth hills. He had a great interest in people real people, and he had an intense concern for their welfare and problems: he loathed all humbug and pretention. As he was loved by those who served with him in war so he gained the affection and loyalty of his employees and tenants; and they will never forget “the Brig” as he was universally and affectionately known.
The story is told of one of his forbears in the early years of last century “Old” Sir Robert Vaughan helping a poor woman to carry a heavy burden from Dolgellau to Llanfachreth. On parting, he made known his identity and greatly astonished she exclaimed, “And there was I thinking that you were a man.” Whatever the verdict of history on Brigadier Vaughan, the soldier, the farmer, those who knew him and had the privilege of working with him will always remember with gratitude, respect and affection, the man.