Frank Naughton GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 13/03/1915 Burton on Trent, Staffordshire. d. 18/06/2004 Plympton, Devon.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 05/08/1936 Indrayani River, India.

Frank Naughton (1915-2004) was born at Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on 13th March 1915, the son of Charles Joseph, a Boer War veteran who was then on active service, and Sophie (nee Ball). Both of his parents had been orphans and as a result of his father dying young, Naughton determined to make his way in the Army on completing his education at the Guild Street Central School.

Frank Naughton GC

Duly enlisting in the Royal Tank Corps in late 1931, he was serving in the 10th Light Tank Company at Kirkee, Poona, at the time of his gallant lifesaving exploits in August 1936, when ordered to recover one of his unit’s Crossley armoured cars.

He was 21 years old and serving in the Royal Tank Corps when he was engaged in recovering an armoured car which had broken down on an “Irish Bridge” (probably a ford). When Lance Corporal S. Temple lost his footing and was in imminent danger od being swept away by the current, Private Robert Campbell released his grip on the lifeline and held on to Temple, but both men were swept into the river, where there were very swift and dangerous currents. Private Naughton, who was fully clothed, immediately dived off the bridge to render assistance. He was drawn under the water several times, and it was only with the utmost difficulty that he was able to overcome the strong currents. He regained shallow water and was almost exhausted. Despite this, when he saw a body appear on the surface, 40 yards away, he again entered the water, and swimming with difficulty succeeded in bringing Temple, who was by this time unconscious, into shallow water, from where both men were assisted ashore. He sadly couldn’t save Private Campbell who drowned.

Invested with his E.G.M. by the Governor of Bombay, the 5th Lord Bradbourne, at an investiture held at Poona racecourse on 9 June 1937, he returned to the U.K. at the end of the year, where he joined the Plymouth City Police in March 1938.

Called-up on the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, shortly after having married Doreen Back, he served as an instructor before being embarked for India in 1942, where he was appointed a Sergeant in the 26th Hussars. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Armoured Corps (R.A.C.) in March 1943, he served in the 150th R.A.C. Regiment as a Technical Adjutant during the Burma campaign 1944-45, and was present in the battles of Kohima and Imphal, and in General Slim’s drive south to relieve Rangoon, and was a shadow of his former self on returning to the U.K. as a Captain at the War’s end, when he appeared to his wife no more than ‘a yellow skeleton’.

On recovering his health, Naughton rejoined the Plymouth City Police, the first nine years of his second period of service being spent on the beat at Greenbank, followed by eight years as a warrant officer responsible for the issuing of warrants and organising court appearances.

Having then retired from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in March 1968, he worked as a supervisor for the English China Clay Company in Plymouth until his final retirement in 1979, following which he kept himself busy as President the South-West Burma Star Association and as President of the Royal Tank Regiment Association until 1995.

Naughton, who had been re-invested with the G.C. at Buckingham Palace on 29 July 1947, died on 18th June 2004, aged 89 years in Plymouth, Devon, and was cremated at Efford Crematorium. His medals were sold at auction in 2012 and are in private ownership.