Wartime Heritage ASSOCIATION
Attack On HMS Indefatigable - April 1st 1945 Surgeon Lt. Alan McCarthy Vaughan (Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve) Name: Alan McCarthy Vaughan Rank: Surgeon Lieutenant Service: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve HMS Indefatigable Date of Birth: August 5, 1916 Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario Date of Enlistment: March 11, 1942 Place of Enlistment: Toronto, Ontario Address at Enlistment: 195 Poplar Plains Rd, Toronto, ON Height: 5 feet, 9 1/4 inches Complexion: Fair Hair color: Brown Eye color: Brown Trade: Surgeon Marital Status: Single Religion: United Church of England Next of Kin: Joseph M and Margaret S Vaughan (parents) of Toronto, ON Date of Death: April 1, 1945 (Easter Sunday) Age at Death: 28 Memorial: Halifax Memorial, Nova Scotia Panel Reference: 13 Commemorated on Page 594 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on November 29 Alan McCarthy Vaughan was the son of Joseph M and Margaret S Vaughan of Toronto, Ontario, and brother of Joseph Bryan, Dennis C Vaughan, and Charmian Vaughan. Surgeon Lt. Alan McCarthy Vaughan had previously served with the Queen’s Rangers (1934-1935) and the Mississauga Horse (1935), a Canadian Army Militia Cavalry Regiment, as a Trooper/Private (Service No. 377355) when he signed enlistment papers October 16, 1940. He was discharged October 31, 1941 before re-enlisting for service in 1942. He had been a medical student at the University of Toronto, raising his university tuition by creating and operating a summer camp for boys. He interned at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. He re-enlisted for service, March 11, 1942, with the rank of acting Surgeon Lieutenant in the RCNVR. His enlistment notes he enjoyed swimming, rugby football, sailing and photography. He was single at enlistment, working as a surgeon at the Toronto General Hospital. He trained in Nova Scotia at HMCS Stadacona as a Surgeon Lieutenant Trainee from June 23, 1942, to September 28, 1942. While living in Halifax his residence was the Lord Nelson Hotel. He also trained at HMS Pembroke (the Royal Navy Barracks at Chatham, Kent, England) and HMS Worchester (1942-1943) before being assigned to the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable. In 1945 Dr. Alan Vaughan was serving as a Surgeon Lieutenant aboard HMS Indefatigable in the Pacific. The aircraft carrier was part of the British Pacific Fleet, assigned to neutralize the enemy airfields in the Sakishima Gunto. On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945 the fleet carriers had flown off their first fighter strike when enemy aircraft were detected by radar seventy-five miles to the eastward, closing in on the fleet at 210 knots at a height of 8000 feet. The fighter sweep was ordered to intercept the enemy and more fighters were flown off. Low cloud and consequent poor visibility gave initial advantage to the Japanese, who split their formation some 40 miles from the fleet. Four were shot down by fighters before the attack began. The ships were firing at the enemy aircraft when a Kamikaze bomber carrying a 250-kilogram bomb came out of the clouds and attacked HMS Indefatigable. The plane crashed across the carrier flight deck. Dr. Alan Vaughan was in Sick bay, located at the base of the superstructure on the main carrier deck, where the plane and bomb exploded. Four officers and ten ratings were killed and sixteen others were wounded. Among the dead was the twenty- nine year-old Vaughan. He had died from the concussion of the bomb. HMS Indefatigable was the first ship of the British Pacific Fleet to come under kamikaze attack. The ship was relatively unscathed because of the armoured deck. The attack left only a slight dip in the flight deck and once smoothed out with cement the carrier was operational again after five hours Alan Vaughan known as “Beefy” to his friends, “Doc Vaughan” to the crew was one of a kind. Following Dr. Vaughan’s death, the Captain of HSM Indefatigable requested condolence letters from the crew, and received some three hundred replies. In one of the letters, the story is told of a jungle-training trip ashore in Ceylon. Dr. Vaughan had volunteered after an airman dropped out due to illness. Initial scepticism of an officer who would lower himself to such gruelling duty soon faded. At first, Vaughan, a large, perspiring, cheerful character with a soft Canadian drawl seemed out of place in the jungle. However, he left a lasting impression when he volunteered to cook and clean at the campsite, and managed to match the airmen's pace as well as their constant taunts. The letters were forwarded to Dr. Vaughan's family in Toronto. Dr. Alan Vaughan was the son of Joseph M. and Margaret S. Vaughan, of Toronto, Ontario.
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HMS Indefatigable
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Attack On HMS Indefatigable April 1st 1945
[The story of Canadian Dr. Alan Vaughan was first related to Wartime Heritage by Bill West, Telegraphist Air Gunner who served with 820 Squadron on HMS Indefatigable]
Obituary for Alan Vaughan “On active service for the last four years, Surgeon-Lieut. Alan M. Vaughan, 29, RCNVR, was killed in action in the Pacific on Easter Sunday, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Vaughan have been informed. Surgeon - Lieut. Vaughan was flight surgeon on one of Britain’s largest aircraft carriers operating in the Far East. His duty was on deck during action, giving first treatment to wounded fliers. When assigned to carrier duty he learned to fly and took special courses in aviation and tropical medicine. Born in Toronto, he attended Oakwood Collegiate and was associated with the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. While a student at the University of Toronto he operated a small summer camp for boys in Muskoka, known as “The Voyageurs”. Surgeon-Lieut. Vaughan was president of his year at the University of Toronto and after graduation interned in the Hospital for Sick Children and the Toronto General Hospital. He enlisted in 1941 and served first with HMCS York and at Halifax and “Niobe” prior to being loaned to the Royal Navy for destroyer duty aboard HMS Worchester, which saw action in the English Channel, North Sea, Murmansk route and other waters. Surviving besides his parents are a sister Charmian, with the Red Cross in Italy and two brothers, Col. Dennis Vaughan, now stationed in London, England after service in France, Belgium and Holland and J. Bryan”
The book Kamikaze gives an account of the events of April 1, 1945 and provides the following reference to Alan Vaughan: “Al Vaughan, Surgeon Lieutenant RCNVR, and a passable clarinetist, kept his instrument in the island sick bay, situated at the deck level so that casualties due to enemy action or bad landings could be treated immediately before proceeding to the main sick bay some decks below. The only scuttle was situated above the sink, which afforded a restricted view of the world. So at Action Stations, Doc. Vaughan, Graduate of Toronto University Medical School, aviation medical officer and beloved friend of all, would sit on the draining board, feet in sink, surveying the outside world to the accompaniment of Mozart whenever things were quiet.