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      'Gordon Vaugh'

    Born near Longford, Co Longford, Ireland on 3rd October 1885 He was the eldest son of Wilton Vaugh and his wife Susan Taylor. He died in France 26th December 1917 and was buried in his final resting place on the 2nd Jan 1918 in Meuse Argonne American Cemetery, plot number A31-38. He was serving with the American Expeditionary Force.

    Gordon has proved to be a most interesting relative, the main reason being the family story which was that he had been in the British Army, we also had a photograph to prove it. This photograph was later found not to be Gordon but an, as yet, unknown member of the South Irish Horse. To see the photograph follow this link. It was this photograph and one other each showing a man in uniform which started me on my research of the Irish Regiment known as the South Irish Horse.
    One of the photographs had the name Frank LaTouch Vaugh on the back and the other had the name Gordon Vaugh, with 'Bethune 1917' written on its back. The family story like so many others proved not so far from the truth as we at first thought.

    Born into a wealthy family, his father was a land owner and land agent who was in later life the Sub Sheriff for the County of Leitrim. I know very little of his early life and the facts presented here only came to light fairly recently. The picture below shows the top part of the first page of Gordon's Attestation papers. He was enlisted into the 4th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment whilst at the Curragh Camp on the 18th October in 1904. So as you can now see he had been in the British Army! On the second page are a few personal details, he was five feet six and a quarter inches in height, weighing in at 139 pounds, a 34 inch chest with an expansion of one and one quarter inches. He also sported longitudinal scars to both his knees. He was considered fit for military service by the medical officer, M McMannus a Captain from the Royal Army Medical Corps. His next of kin is given as, father Wilton Vaugh, Dromahair, CO Leitrim. Brother (younger) Frank with the same address. Scant facts indeed but more than I knew of him previously.

    His service was short lived indeed, after only thirty days he paid the princely sum of £10 and was discharged. Why he chose this course of action I have no idea, maybe all will be revealed in due course.
    The picture below can be viewed full size by clicking on it, this will open in a new window, not a very satisfactory arrangement but the only one I have with the limitations of the technology. Once viewed close that window to reveal this one.

  Part of the attestation paper for Gordon Vaugh 1904


    Due to the Ellis Island records being available on the Internet (http://www.ellisislandrecords.org) I was able to find a another missing piece of the Gordon jigsaw. One of the records listed, after conducting a search for the name Vaugh is for the ship SS Majestic which sailed from Queenstown Ireland on the 8th December 1904. This was only a matter of weeks after leaving the British Army. He was off to America, like so many of his countrymen before him, where his uncle Robert Taylor of 229 East 59th Street New York awaited his arrival.

     The dark shadow of war fell over Europe in August 1914 and had involved the US by late 1917. Gordon again enlisted in the army, this time he chose the Head Quarters Company of the 5th Field Artillery in the American Army. The date from the papers I have is January 5th 1917. Sadly by 26th of December that year he had died of pleurisy in France. There are a series of records called, burial case files, I have used these to piece together the last journey of Gordon Vaugh.
After he died he was buried in the local French cemetery at Gondrecourt, Meuse. This was in 1917. The memorial plaque which hangs above the family pew in Dromahaire Church states that this is where he is buried. It may have been true at the time the plaque was erected, later his body was removed to another cemetery, read on.

   Thanks to the American government and their policy to "Bring Home" those of the USA forces who had lost their lives in the service of their country, a burial case file was created. Letters were sent to Gordon's nearest next of kin, his uncle Robert Taylor of New York, who forwarded them to Gordon's mother Susan in Leitrim Ireland. She had at first requested that her son's body be returned to Ireland but later changed her mind and requested, that he be left in France. Her fear was that it would not be Gordon's body that would be returned but some other. Though I feel her fears were ill founded , I can at least understand a mothers concern.

    During and after WW1 all across France and Belgium the task of moving the remains of thousands of service men of all nationalities was being undertaken by many countries. So it was that on on the 26th October 1921, after formal identification by the ID disc on his body and on the grave marker he was shipped in a new coffin to the rail head and then on to Romagne-sours-Montfauonn. At the Meuse-Argonne cemetery he arrived at his final resting place and was buried on 30th November 1921 with the full military honours of the American nation.

    Finally on the 12th may 1922 a letter was sent to Robert Taylor of, 28 West 14th Street, New York, NY, giving details of the burial place in the Meuse Argonne American Cemetery, number 38 Row 31, Block A. The letter also reaffirmed the United States Government commitment to maintain the grave in perpetuity in a manner befitting the last resting place of it's heroes.

    Researching the life of Gordon has proved quite a challenge but very rewarding. I now have a much clearer picture of his short life. If it were not for the British Army records held in the Public Record Office in Kew London the US records department in Washington and the Ellis Island records available from the web page linked above, none of this would be possible. It is to all records repositories that I send my thanks and admiration.

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    Doug Vaugh, England 2nd June 2001                     Contact me Doug Vaugh