Born on the 7th of October, 1882, William Vaughan, when in due time he reached the age of 16¾ years, was afflicted with “sea fever” and joined the senior service in the humble capacity of second-class boy.


From the first he was marked as being exceptionally brainy, rapidly making his upward way until he reached the Warrant rank as a Gunner when 27 years of age, at a period when the “Passed Roster” was exceptionally congested and promotion was slow.


He attained the [then] Commissioned rank of Chief Gunner, 1st April 1912, by which time he had completed a commission as Gunner in the coveted post in the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet [H.M.S. Exmouth] and upon paying off this vessel he was appointed to the Experimental Staff at Whale Island.  Here he found his metier, and so demonstrated his value to successive senior officers that from the date of his first appointment in 1912 he has been regularly re-appointed as each period of service in the past was determined.


He reached the rank of Lieutenant 1st May, 1916, and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander 1st May, 1924, being relegated to the Retired List as from 13th October of the same year.  His services were, however, so highly appreciated that he was re-appointed on retirement, and is still serving in the same responsible position, being the senior officer of his rank on the experimental staff.


From the time Lt-Cdr. Vaughan emerged as a Gunnery Officer he has been recognised as a clever inventor, as well as a remarkable practical officer, being responsible for many useful improvements in gunnery appliances and gear.


Among other alterations due to his initiative are the following:-


When ‘Director Firing’ was introduced for 16-inch guns, he suggested an ingenious arrangement marked with great simplicity by which guns of a smaller calibre can be similarly fired.  He evolved a method to utilise the exhaust flame and vapour of the fired electric tube to “trip” the trigger, by which means the gun can be fired very rapidly indeed.


The cost per set of this gear is but £18, as  compared with over £100 of a competing system; hence Lt-Cdr. Vaughan’s method has been adopted as a standard fitting, and already the amount of “user” reaches the respectable sum of £30,000


A claim for an award for this very useful invention came before the Royal Commission on Awards on Monday the 13th October last year, and was not resisted on the part of the Crown.  The representatives of the Admiralty agreeing that it was a very effective, useful, and economical device, and clearly a must for an award.


A further invention due to the ingenuity of the same officer was also the subject of a claim on the same day; this being in regard to percussion firing of guns.  He provides a secondary method to the ancient trigger lanyard, and under his system the weapon cannot be fired unless, and until, the breech block is home and locked, and the gun’s crew are clear of the recoil.


This, too, has been accepted and adopted as a standard fitting throughout the Service;  and although the Crown representative was not so satisfied of the justice of the claim for an award, nor so warmly in favour of an unopposed concurrence with the appeal for the merit and novelty of the arrangement, after considerable discussion by opposing council; the Commissioners stated they would consider the two cases at their leisure, the first having been clearly made out, in due time promulgating their decision as the {SHOULD BE as to, I think} whether awards are to be made, and the amount they consider due.


It will be gratifying in the class to which this officer belongs to learn that he has so successfully applied his talents for “the good of the Service” indicating that there is no monopoly of brains in any one class; while it will be still more gratifying to know that there is every probability of Lt-Cdr. William Vaughan receiving some tangible and substantial reward for his ingenious inventions.