It took 10 months and a journey of over 9,350 km from Sheffield in England to Aizawl in Northeast India for Herbert Winston Vaughan’s last wish to be fulfilled. It happened recently when 25 members of the former British Army soldier’s family scattered his ashes at the Assam Rifles Lammual ground in Mizoram’s capital.
‘My father’s dying wish, which he asked my mother to fulfill, was to have his ashes scattered on the field where he used to play most of his football during his days in Mizoram,’ Herbert’s son John said.
British footballer’s connection with Mizoram
A soldier with British Army’s medical corps, Herbert was posted in Mizoram in 1944. He soon started playing in the Assam Rifles ground in Aizawl as a goalkeeper and became popular as Jumbo for his skills.
A year after his arrival, Herbert married Rokamlovi, a Mizo girl from a prominent political family from the state. Though most British people left India after Independence, Herbert decided to stay back.
‘He left British Army and started working with Burma Oil and kept playing in Mizoram. My mother left with the children for Sheffield in 1963 and was joined a year later by my father,’ John said.
Though they left Mizoram, Herbert, who was a fan of Sheffield United football club, kept abreast of the game’s developments in the state. When Mizoram won the Santosh Trophy in 2014, he sent a congratulatory message.