Personal info

  • Name: Sir John Edmond GOUGH
  • D.O.B: 25th Oct, 1871
  • D.O.A: 22nd Apr, 1903
  • D.O.D: 22nd Feb, 1915
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: B/Major, 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own), attached to the Berbera Column
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Sources & Acknowledgements


JANUARY 1901-MAY 1904

More details about:
AWARDS FROM 1902 TO 1914 

A British Protectorate was established in 1884 along the northern Somali coast around Berbera. In 1899, Haji Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, from a tribe that lived in the Ogaden, began to raid the southern areas of the Protectorate. Known to the British as ‘the Mad Mullah’, his attacks led in January 1901 to the formation of a local defence force under Lieutenant Colonel E J E Swayne. It consisted of a Camel Corps, Mounted Infantry and two Corps of Infantry. However, the Mullah continued his attacks, and in 1902 Swayne called for reinforcements and was sent 300 men of 2nd Battalion, King’s African Rifles and 60 Sikhs from Central Africa. After an action at Erigo, 6 October 1902, Swayne was invalided home and command passed to Brigadier General W H Manning of the King’s African Rifles. A more sustained campaign against the Mullah was clearly necessary and a Somaliland Field Force was assembled. Manning planned to trap the Mullah, who was at Galadi in the Ogaden, between two columns, one coming south from Berbera and Bohotle, the other, with the consent of the Italian Government, marching north-west from the port of Obbia in Italian Somaliland. By 31 March 1903 he had reached Galadi but the Mullah had retreated to Wardair, 80 miles to the west. While Manning waited for the Bohotle column he sent out Lieutenant Colonel Cobbe on 10 April to reconnoitre the road to Wardair. On 17 April 1903 a detachment of Cobbe’s force was attacked at Gumburru and effectively wiped out. Meanwhile Major Gough, who had been moving south from Bohotle to close the trap round the Mullah, fought an indecisive action at Daratoleh on 22 April. On receiving news of the disaster at Gumburru he had no option but to return to Bohotle. As had always been intended, the base at Obbia had closed on 17 April and Manning’s force therefore marched north from Galadi to Bohotle. In the meantime the Mullah and his whole force managed to move east of Bohotle back into the British Protectorate, reaching the Nogal Valley. On 16 July 1903 Major General Sir Charles Comyn Egerton took over command of the Somaliland Field Force, which now included reinforcements from India and numbered over 7,000 men. He determined to pursue his enemy into the Nogal and force him to fight. After a series of operations including the reconnaissance at Jidballi on 19 December 1903 the Mullah’s army, 7,000 strong, was defeated at Jidballi on 10 January 1904. Though the Somaliland Field Force had been stood down by June, the Mullah himself escaped to Italian Somaliland and continued to cause trouble for the British until his death in 1920.


 During the action at Daratoleh, on 22nd April last, Major Gough assisted Captains Walker and Rolland in carrying back the late Captain Bruce (who had been mortally wounded)and preventing that Officer from falling into the hands of the enemy. Captains Walkerand Rolland have already been awarded the Victoria Cross for their gallantry on this occasion, but Major Gough (who was in command of the column) made no mention of his own conduct, which has only recently been brought to notice. 

(The London Gazette of 15 January 1904, Numb. 27636, p. 331)

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