Charles John Stanley Gough VC GCB

b. 28/01/1832 Chittagong, India. d. 06/09/1912 Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland.

Charles John Stanley Gough (1832-1912) was born into an illustrious military family on 28th January 1832 in Chittagong, India (now Bangladesh). His grandfather was Thomas Bunbury Gough, Dean of Derry, and his brother was Sir Hugh Henry Gough VC. Charles travelled to India at the age of 16 and was posted to the 8th Bengal Cavalry. He was fortunate to arrive in time to participate in the Punjab Campaign of 1848-49 where he saw action at Ramnuggur, Chenab and the Battles of Sadoolapur, Chillianwalla and Goojerat. He received the campaign medal with two clasps for the actions.

Charles J S Gough

On the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny eight years later, he proceeded to join the Army which had been hastily organised to effect the capture of Delhi. He and his brother were recognized as two of the most brilliant young cavalry leaders. In the continual actions in which the regiment was engaged before Delhi was successfully taken, Charles’ reputation was enhanced and he often appeared in despatches. Transferred to Hodson’s Irregular Horse, he accompanied, a few weeks later, Sir Colin Campbell’s Force in the Second Relief of Lucknow, and he was mentioned in despatches three more times. He was later present at Cawnpore and the actions at Alambagh.

His repeated gallantry throughout the Mutiny almost inevitably led to the award of the Victoria Cross on 21st October 1859. His citation noted not one act of gallantry but four separate incidents on four separate dates. On 15th August 1857, during an action at Khurkowdah, he acted in the defence of his brother, saving his life and killing two of the enemy. Secondly, on 18th August 1857, he led a troop of the Guide Cavalry in a charge and cut down two of the enemy’s sowars, with one he had desperate hand to hand combat. Thirdly, on 27th January 1858, at Shumshahbad, he attacked one of the enemy’s leaders and pierced him with a sword, which was then carried out of his hand in the melee. He then defended himself with a revolver, shooting two enemy closeby. Finally, on the 23rd February 1858 at Meangunge, he went to the assistance of Brevet Major O.H. St George Anson, and killed his opponent, immediately cutting down a second opponent who charged him.

Charles returned to England on sick leave after the Mutiny, and received his VC on 4th January 1860 at Windsor Castle. He later took part in the Expedition to Bhootan in 1864, but had no real opportunity for gallantry in action until the outbreak of the Afghan War in 1878, by which time he was promoted to Colonel.

He commanded the cavalry brigade in the Peshawar Valley Field Force, under Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Browne, and took part in the operations in the area, including the attack on Ali Musjid. He then led the assaults on Kabul, and received the campaign medal with two clasps and a KCB. Soon after his return to India he was given command of the Hyderabad Contingent, which he held until his promotion to Major-General in 1885, after which he commanded the Bengal District for five years.

Following promotion to General in 1891, he was placed on the Unemployed Supernumerary List in 1895 and was created a GCB. He was also made Honorary Colonel of the 5th Cavalry (Indian Army). After his retirement, he moved to Ireland and became a country gentleman. He became a writer, writing about the Sikh Wars, and regular letters to The Times.

He had married in 1869 to Henriette, daughter of J.W. Power MP. They had two sons, both who became distinguished military men, General H. de la P. Gough and General John Edmund Gough VC. Charles died at his home, “Innislonagh”, near Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland on 6th September 1912, aged 80. He was laid to rest in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Clonmel. His medals are part of the Ashcroft Collection displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum.




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