“SHAUGHO” as he was popularly known, a native of Liverpool, was in Canada at the outbreak of World War I and returned to England with the first Canadian Expeditionary Force from which he transferred to the R.F.A. and served in France from 1915 to 1918, emerging from that conflict with the Military Medal, Croix de Guerre and a Mention in Despatches.

He had been earmarked for a Commission and was at an Officers’ Training Unit when the Armistice curtailed all aspirations in that direction. He re-enlisted in the 8th Hussars in early 1919 and served in India, Mesopotamia and Egypt, returning with the Regiment to York in 1923.

From being S.S.M. of “B” Squadron he was promoted to R.S.M. in 1931, something of an achievement in 12 years, as promotion between the Wars was painfully slow.

The Regiment was in Egypt at the outbreak of World War II and in mid-1940 he was selected for a Commission and should have left for the U.K. However, after a 3-week sojourn in Port Said he returned, as all sailings to the U.K. were cancelled in view of the “U” Boat menace. This created the unique situation of the Regiment having, for a short period, two R.S.M.s, as R.Q.S.M. C.Hedley had been appointed R.S.M. on “Shaugho’s” departure.

He was then Commissioned on the General List and posted to Movement Control. He was an M.C.O., first at Daba and then Mersa-Matruh, both of which were the favourite targets of Italian Bombers which operated pretty well undisturbed at that time.

His ability to keep things going under difficulty and danger was recognised by rapid promotion to Captain and a posting to Tobruk, which had been captured during the Wavell offensive and was being developed as the Main Supply Base for the 8th Army. It was in Tobruk after the port had been cut off during Rommel’s first offensive, that his name became legendary.

The port was under constant air attack, Stukas by day, Bombers by night, but he managed to organise a certain amount of movement, mainly by night. In addition, he manned with his batman, an improvised A.A . post with two salvaged Lewis guns on an improvised mounting and was reported to be the first to “open up”. He was reliably credited with bringing down one Stuka and damaging several others.

During one particularly heavy daylight raid, a Hurricane pilot baled out and landed in the harbour. At the height of the raid, regardless of personal danger, he rowed out into the harbour and picked up the wounded pilot. For this act of courage, he was awarded the George Medal and was later decorated with the Military Cross for his general brave conduct throughout the siege.

After Tobruk he joined the S.A.S., operating in the Balkans, and for his exploits in raids on the Dodecanese Islands, he was awarded an M.B.E. at the end of the War.

Then he served for some years in the Kenya Police including the Mau Mau campaign and was awarded that medal. He established a Riding School in South Africa where his two sons were residents.

In late 1963 he returned to his native Liverpool, in poor health, and spent a good deal of time in hospital, where he died in April 1965, after a long and painful illness.

Such short notice was received of his death that it was only possible for Colonel Sir Guy Lowther to fly to Liverpool and represent the Regiment at his funeral.

A much be-ribboned soldier for, in addition to his 5 decorations, he had 10 Campaign medals, Jubilee 35, Coronation 37 and the L.S. and G.C. medal, “Shaughn ” was admired and respected by all who knew him.

Although commissioned on the General List he persisted, in defiance of authority, in wearing the Regiment’s badges and identifying himself with it, adding lustre to its name.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. The Western Front 1914-18
  3. Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
  4. Citation and Award for the Military Cross: Capt CJ O’Shaughnessy
  5. The Last of The Horse Years