Richard Henry Vaughan Thompson
11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Died 26th September 1916 Age 32
Capt. R.H. Vaughan Thompson – Royal Fus.
Richard Henry Vaughan Thompson, born 20 October 1883, was the only son of Col. and Mrs E. Vaughan Thompson. His connection with the parish was through his father-in-law Lord Shaw of Dunfermline, Liberal Member of Parliament for Hawick and eminent lawyer and judge, who purchased the estate of Craigmyle and became a life peer as 1st Baron Craigmyle in 1929. He was educated at Somerfields, Oxford, Winchester College, and Trinity College Cambridge, from which he graduated with a degree in jurisprudence in 1901. He practised as a solicitor in the family firm of Beachcroft, Thomson & Co. in Theobald’s Road, London and was elected to Holborn Borough Council.
In August 1914 Vaughan Thompson was living at Sheen Wood, East Sheen when he signed up to the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps at Lincoln’s Inn and applied for a temporary commission in the regular army for the duration of the war, having previously served in the 6th East Surrey Regiment of volunteers. He obtained a commission with the rank of Captain in the 11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. On 6 February1915 he married The Hon. Isabel, youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Shaw, at South Kensington Presbyterian Church.
The Aberdeen Weekly Journal reported regularly on Mrs Vaughan Thomson’s doings in the county. In August 1915 she was at Craigmyle for the opening week of the grouse shooting when the lessee of the Learney shootings received a telegram informing him of the death of his brother at the front, and there was also a report that Private David Milne of the 7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, gardener at Tillydrine and bandmaster of the district brass band, had been wounded by shrapnel. In January 1916 she received a telegram to the effect that her husband had been admitted to a Red Cross hospital in Rouen with fractured nasal bones. He was discharged after about two weeks, but on 1 October 1916 much worse news was conveyed in a telegram to Mrs Vaughan Thomson, by then residing at 1, Palace Gate:
“Deeply regret to inform you that Capt. R.H. Vaughan Thomson 11 Royal Fusiliers is reported wounded believed killed Sep 26. The Army Council expresses their sympathy”.
A further telegram the following day confirmed that he had been killed in action.
On the reported day of his death the 11th Bn were involved in the attack and capture of Thiepval in the
Battle of the Somme. The battalion War Diary records that on the day in question Capt. Vaughan Thompson was in command of “D” Co. He was killed leading his men in an attack on a strong point in enemy Brawn Trench.
The telegrams were sent to Palace Gate, but in fact Mrs Vaughan Thomson was at Craigmyle, as appears from an article in the Aberdeen Journal on 7 October 1916 when it reported on the annual meeting of the County of Aberdeen Branch, British Red Cross Society, held in the ballroom of the Music Hall on Union Street. Lord Shaw sent apologies for his absence, the chairman reading out a letter from him as follows:
“The War Office reports by telegram that my dear son-in-law, Captain Vaughan Thomson, is believed to have been killed in action on the 26th September. I accompany my stricken daughter to London. In the circumstances your committee will, I am sure, forgive my absence”.
Capt. Vaughan Thompson was Mentioned in Dispatches and is commemorated at Authuille Military Cemetery.