Carew Cheriton Control Tower volunteers were pleased that when retired Royal British Legion Vice President, Ron Brayford, decided to break up his collection of military memorabilia he chose the wartime museum to donate headwear that belonged to his friend and former colleague, Brigadier Clifford T W Gough, OBE.
Presenting the cap to Museum President, John Brock, MBE, Ron said, “Brigadier Gough was an officer and real gentleman. Cliff joined the Army as a boy soldier at the age of 14 and by the time he had retired aged 57 years he had worked his way through every military rank up to brigadier and then became Commandant of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.” The Corps was formed on 1st October 1942 and Ron said, “Cliff was the first Royal Artillery officer to transfer to the REME.”
Mr Brayford told volunteers how Brigadier Gough began his long association with Pembrokeshire when as a boy soldier his first posting was to Llanion Barracks, Pembroke Dock. Then on being promoted to the rank of Lance Bombardier with the Royal Artillery he was posted to Dale Fort from where he ran sports classes for children attending Dale School.
Born in 1911 into a military family in Shropshire Clifford cemented his links with Pembrokeshire in 1933 when he married local Pembroke girl Lillian Brace.
His father, Thomas Gough, a Company Sergeant Major with the South Staffordshire Regiment, was killed in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. His body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument.
Assuring Ron that the Control Tower Museum would take great care of the gold braided headwear John Brock said, “It is a privilege to receive part of the uniform of one of Pembrokeshire’s most distinguished soldiers. We will make sure it is suitably displayed within the museum’s collection of militaria.”
Other memorabilia connected to Brigadier Gough have been displayed at the REME museum near Reading in its “Soldier’s Souvenirs from the Field” exhibition.
Towards the end of the war Brigadier Gough entered the Reich Chancellery in Berlin and made straight for Hitler’s personal office to see if there were any souvenirs to be had. Brigadier Gough is said to have recalled, “Being on the lookout for souvenirs, I went the bathroom where the whole of the suite of bath, toilet and wash basin was in azure blue porcelain. Using my jack-knife I tried to remove some of the wall tiles but these broke.”
Around the walls were a number of fluted brass columns shaped like tulips, which had originally been part of wall light assemblies. By standing on the arms of a chair Brigadier Gough said “I found one with a loose nut, which, with the aid of the marlin spike on my jack-knife, I was able to undo; the top and bottom parts then came away.” As well as the light fitting the REME exhibition included an embroidered piece of chair fabric the Brigadier found in Hitler’s rooms.
When Brigadier Gough died in 2001 wanted no fuss. Ron Brayford said, “Despite being a distinguished soldier there is no local memorial to him.”