The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 11 No 6 - December 2000

OBITUARY: Maurice Gough-Palmer
9 September 1917 - 9 November 2000

Maurice Gough-Palmer died in Johannesburg on 9 November 2000 and is survived by his daughter, Gillian, a veterinary surgeon.

Maurice was born on 9 September 1917, one of four sons of a magistrate and, after matriculating in about 1934, he joined the staff of Rand Mines Ltd at the Corner House in Johannesburg. He served in the 1st Battalion of the Transvaal Scottish in East Africa and the Middle East. After the war, he returned to Rand Mines and married Constance Margaret Howarth, who died in April 1993.

Following his early retirement from Rand Mines in 1977, Maurice joined the staff of the British War Graves Committee of the National Monuments Council, as Secretary, on 1 July 1977, and remained there until about 1989. In recognition of this service, he was subsequently awarded the Star of Africa.

In the interim, Maurice joined the Military History Society in the early stages of its existence and served the Society as Honorary Treasurer and then as Honorary Secretary/Treasurer for a period of eleven years from January 1971 to April 1982. During these years, he did a great deal for the Society and was tireless in all his endeavours. He was well-liked and respected by all. The Society showed its appreciation of this remarkable service by presenting him with an engraved silver-plated beer mug.

Maurice was a unique person with a wonderful sense of humour, as is well remembered by members of the Society whilst on trips to the battlefields, and in his dealings with Society affairs and individual members. He was a gentle and compassionate person with an amiable and responsive personality, yet one who did not suffer fools lightly. He was highly intelligent and a very keen and objective historian. He had considerable mental and physical stamina and was not easily beaten when on the hunt for some grave or other. He was firmly of the view that any soldier who had died in South Africa during any of the wars in the region should not be forgotten. He was an exceptionally good bowler and a popular player on the greens. He also had a lively interest in all things pertaining to horses, dogs, birds and flowers, and was a very enthusiastic gardener.

Maurice was a cultured individual of complete integrity, and had no doubts whatsoever about the eternal verities. Above all, he was a natural born gentleman. He is greatly mourned and we shall not see his like again.

The funeral service was held on Wednesday morning, 15 November 2000, at St Andrew's Anglican Church, Kensington, Johannesburg. It was attended by a large number of relatives and friends, members of the Parish, and representatives of the British War Graves Committee, the Military History Society, the MOTHs, and the Bowling Club. In Memoriam Tributes were read by Mr Denis Gough-Palmer (brother), Nick Kinsey, Fiona Barbour, Jim Lawton (bowler), and Jack Wallace (parish member). Vaughan Farquharson of the Transvaal Scottish Pipes and Drums played the Lament and piped the cortege out of the church.

Nick Kinsey

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