• Mary McLean Loughron

  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
  • Royal Red Cross (1st Class) (RRC)
  • Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) (ARRC)
  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Stories and comments
    • LOUGHRON, Mary McLean – Sister / Assistant Matron, QAIMNSR (MID, ARRC, RRC)
    • Posted by FrevFord, Wednesday, 4 March 2015

    Born 2/8/1886 Winchelsea, Vic – daughter of William LOUGHRON (d.1913) & Mary McKINNON (d.1895), who married at Geelong in 1873 Siblings: James; Annie (Mrs Synot, Warrnambool), Thomas (Melbourne), Christina (Mrs Thornley, Gnotuk, Camperdown), Kate (Mrs Schroeter, Winchelsea), John (Yea), William (Werribee), Allan, and Una [Godmother of her great nephew, Andrew Ashworth Thornley 1941] Trained at the Melbourne Hospital 1914 ER: Nurse – St Andrew’s Hospital, Brighton, Vic WW1: MID 1916 / ARRC 1917 / RRC 1919 * Joined for duty 4/4/15 –Embarked Melbourne 14/4/1915 on the Orontes – arriving England in May * Arrived in France 9/6/15 – served at 7 Stationary Hospital * To England sick 1915 Proceedings of Medical Board – assembled at Queen Alexandra Military Hosp 6/9/1915: “She acquired a hernia in the course of her duties by lifting beds. She has been operated on successfully. Wound ….. healed.” Recommended light duty for one month 9/10/15 – considered sufficiently recovered to resume her usual duties Return to France 16/10/15 – to 7 Staty Hosp 18/10/15 * 7 Staty Hosp – during her time with this unit she carried out duties as Acting Sister on the surgical floor, the medical floor & in theatre – and was considered most capable, a good manager & very conscientious – departed 11/11/16 * To 26 Ambulance Train, Boulogne 11/11/16 * To hospital 8/12/16 – England (sick) 14/12/16 Proceedings of Medical Board – assembled at Hospital for QAIMNS, Vincent Sq, S. 29/12/16: “Suffered from Bronchial Catarrh in France on Dec 8th. She is now convalescent.” Address whilst in England: C/- Col. Reay, 92 Fleet Street, E.C. Return to France 3/1/1917 * To 38 CCS 10/1/1917 * To Abbeville 7/2/17 * To 5 Staty Hosp 28/2/17 * To 2 Staty Hosp 31/5/17 * To 7 Staty Hosp, Boulogne 28/7/17 * To 14 Gen Hosp, Boulogne 3/9/17 * To 2 Stay Hosp, Boulogne 11/10/17 * Accident on train 8/2/1918 whilst returning from Leave – resulting in a cut on the scalp, followed by mild concussion *Admitted 2 Stat Hosp (N.Y.D.) 9/2/18 – discharged back to duty 17/2/18 Letter from witness: No. 3 Can Staty Hosp, France 10/3/18 I was witness to the aforesaid accident & hereby attach my statement. On arrival of the Cannes, Paris Train, & whilst standing to collect baggage, the train came to a very sudden stop, causing the couchette to fall, striking Matron Loughron on the head inflicting a scalp wound. The patient was rendered unconscious for a matter of a second. An R.A.M.C. Officer was called & patient was assisted to ambulance, taken to Sisters Club Paris. Wound was washed & dressed by Matron of aforesaid club & witness. The wound apparently only a slight abrasion of the scalp. Patient proceeded to Abbeville by 1.55 train or thereabouts. This is all the information I am able to give regarding this matter. Sgd. J. Isobel Smith N/S Report from Maj W. H. Galloway, RAMC, CO 2 Stationary Hosp, dated 22/4/19: “Miss Loughron served with me as Acting Matron of the Nursing Sisters Annexe to No.2 Stationary Hpl. from October 1917 to the present date. Her professional ability and her administrative capacity are above the average. She is a strict disciplinarian and her general influence succeeds in getting willing work out of her staff, but withall, there has always been a noticeable atmosphere of contentment and happiness amongst them and amongst her patients. She is of even temper and sound judgement and has a natural tact with plenty of common sense. She is well fitted for promotion to higher rank.” Report from E.M. McCarthy (Matron-in-chief), dated 10/5/19: “A most excellent worker – young & capable. Highly trained in all branches of her profession. A gentlewoman – cheery manners – has worked with marked success – entirely suited for promotion to the rank of matron.” * To Station Hospital, Paris 15/5/19 – A/Matron * Proceeded to England for demobilization 12/8/19 & posted to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Grosvenor Rd, Millbank – for temporary duty whilst awaiting repatriation * RTA on the Orvieto, embarked Tilbury 1/11/19 – arrived Melbourne 12/12/19 “At the order of the French Government, her portrait was painted by a famous artist Eugene Brenand. It was hung in the gallery of Portraits of the Allies in Luxembourg. She represents the British Army Nursing Service, and was painted in the indoor uniform of the Queen Alexandra Nursing Service.” 1920 – 1930: Operated her own Private Hospital in Camberwell 1930 - 1949: Chief Children’s Welfare Inspector – attached to the Children’s Welfare Dept 1920: C/- Mrs E.A. Thornley, “Kangatong”, Hawkesdale, Vic (Mary’s sister) 1924 ER: Nurse – 7 Canterbury Rd, Camberwell 1931 ER: 61 Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell (nurse) 1936 ER: Public Servant – 150 Clarendon St, Melbourne East 1942 ER: Inspector – 42 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn 1949 ER: Child Welfare – Flat 4, 16 Marne St, Sth Yarra 1954 ER: Home Duties – No.3, 396 Toorak Rd, Toorak 1963 ER: Home Duties – 3 Albion St, Ripponlea 1968 ER: Grace McKellar House, Corio, Geelong Died 1972 Geelong, age 85 Notes: Her signature on her declaration form in SR, dated 31/5/1915, was witnessed by Ethel Mary Hargreave (p.22) Aus Nat Arch: Form in MT1487/1 file refers to RRC (1st Class) & previous decoration: RRC (2nd Class) [SR confirms both awards] “Embarked ‘Orontes’ 14/4/15” “Records show that the above named embarked on the ‘Orvieto’ for Return to Australia, leaving U.K. 1/11/19 and arriving at Melbourne 12/12/19” AWM Collection: http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/3DRL/4122/ [There are incorrect files in the name of M. McLOUGHRON & M.N. McLOUGHRON that also relate to her – ie. M. Mc. LOUGHRON] Description of AWM photo P02573.001: Melbourne, Vic. 25 April 1939. Informal portrait of three women walking down the footpath en route to the Anzac Day parade. At centre is Matron Mary McLean Loughron. The woman at left may be Sister Owen. Matron Loughron, born in Winchelsea, Vic, served as a nurse with the British Army in France in the Queen Alexandra Imperial Medical Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR) from the beginning of 1915 to the end of the First World War, and immediately afterwards as Matron of the Peace Conference Hospital in Paris. As Staff Nurse Loughron, she was Mentioned in Despatches on 30 April 1916 for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field. In 1917, Matron Loughron received the Royal Red Cross (2nd class) medal and after the end of the First World War, the Royal Red Cross (1st Class) medal. (Donor C. Fenton) 1949 AWM Photo: http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P09900.001 Description: Mary Loughron holds a wreath before laying it at the Edith Cavell Memorial on Anzac Day 1949. Matron Loughron, born in Winchelsea, Vic, served as a nurse with the British Army in France in the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Medical Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR) from the beginning of 1915 to the end of the First World War, and immediately afterwards as Matron of the Peace Conference Hospital in Paris. As Staff Nurse Loughron, she was Mentioned in Despatches on 30 April 1916 for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field. In 1917, Matron Loughron received the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) medal and after the end of the First World War, the Royal Red Cross (1st Class) medal. The Edith Cavell Memorial was built by funds raised by public subscription and unveiled in 1926 by Sir Harry Chauvel. Cairns Post (Qld), Fri 23 Jul 1915: AUSTRALIANS ABROAD A bevy of Australian nurses has joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service. Miss Effie Hargreave, Miss Loughron and several others have gone to a Boulogne base hospital; others have been appointed to posts at Harefield Park, near London. Harefield Park is one of the largest hospitals for Australian wounded and has been splendidly fitted up for the purpose. All nurses who offer their services to the War Office, are of course under orders and are sometimes disappointed that their duty does not take them nearer the scene of action. [London, is quite scene of action enough for less energetically inclined women, and there has been an exodus of feather-brains this week. Most of them have sought midland or west-coast resorts where their dreams will be untroubled by thought of incendiary bombs, respirators, etc., and where their mediations on the fashions and their new season’s gowns may be indulged in, fancy-free.] The Colac Herald, Mon 11 Jun 1917: WINCHELSEA In last week’s cables it was announced that Nurse Mary Loughron had been awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal in recognition of special services rendered with the A.I.F. “somewhere in France.” Winchelsea is very proud of her. She was born in the district, and has always been greatly respected by the residents. Some time back she was decorated by the King. Nurse Loughron is a sister of Plainclothes Constable Loughron, of Geelong. The Colac Herald, Mon 10 Sept 1917: Nurse Loughron, recently decorated by the King, has written to her sister, Mrs H Schroeter, of Winchelsea, telling her of her experiences, and of her being the guest of the King and Queen. She also mentions that she has been promoted to the position of matron. Geelong Advertiser (Vic), Thur 31 Jul 1919 (p.2): A SAD WAR GIFT Plainclothes-Constable and Mrs Loughron received by the last mail a parcel of war souvenirs sent by Matron Mary McL Loughron from France to her little niece Molly, who died before the gift arrived. The chief item is rare among trophies of the battlefield – a German 18-pounder gas-shell case. This is of solid brass, over 2 feet long, tapering in diameter from 4½ inches to 3, and weighs 12 pounds. The solidity and fine quality of its manufacture disposes of the legend that the Germans had exhausted their brass supply. Matron Loughron was recently in charge of a hospital attached to the Peace Conference for its host of delegates and officials. She has been over four years on service, most of the time about Pozieres. She has earned the Royal Red Cross decoration, and three “mentions” in despatches. Cairns Post (Qld), Tue 15 Apr 1930: A WOMAN’S LETTER NEWS FROM THE SOUTH For Children Out of many applicants Miss Mary Loughron, of Melbourne, has been selected as Chief Children’s Welfare Inspector attached to the Children’s Welfare Branch. After an inquiry held recently into a shocking case of neglect of boarded-out infants, the appointment of a chief inspector, two other inspectors and an inquiry officer was decided upon. The first of these appointments has been made public within the last few days. Miss Loughron’s home town is Geelong. She trained as a nurse at the Melbourne Hospital, and for five years she gave war service with the Australian Expeditionary Forces in France. She was a hospital matron, was mentioned in despatches and had bestowed upon her the first and second class Royal Red Cross. Of later years Miss Loughron has specialised in hospital organisation and been attached to the staff of a large private hospital. One feels that the fate of helpless children will be safe in the hands of such a redoubtable woman as this. Camperdown Chronicle, Sat 27 Apr 1935: ANZAC COMMEMMORATION IMPRESSIVE SERVICE AND PILGRIMAGE FOR TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY ………………………………………………………….. In glorious sunshine returned men marched to the Soldier’s Memorial. They were accompanied by Miss Mary McLean Loughron, who is a sister of Mrs Edmund Thornley, and an army sister from Melbourne. During the war Miss Loughron was decorated with first and second class Royal Red Cross, and was mentioned three times in despatches. ……………………………………… The Argus, Tue 14 Jun 1949: After 40 Years – A Holiday For the first time in almost 40 years Miss Mary McLean Loughron is to have a real holiday…a holiday without responsibility, and without any thought of the job she had left behind. In her Marne st, South Yarra, flat, the other morning, Miss Loughron went back over the years and told me of her 40 years of service to those less fortunate than herself. She has recently retired after 20 years as chief inspector for Victoria for the Child Welfare Department, and officer in charge of Infant Life Protection Branch. Miss Loughron was the able leader of a team of 15 inspectors…all trained nurses. “It is a great wrench for me to leave that grand band of women,” Miss Loughron told me, “but I thought it was time I had a rest.” At the end of this week she is off to Queensland for the holiday she has been looking forward to for close on 40 years. After leaving school, Miss Loughron became a trainee nurse at the Melbourne Hospital. At the outbreak of World War 1 she joined the Army Nursing Service and spent the war years in France. She was three times mentioned in despatches, and decorated by King George V with the Royal Red Cross (first and second class). Another rare distinction came her way when, at the order of the French Government, her portrait was painted by a famous artist Eugene Brenand. It was hung in the gallery of Portraits of the Allies in Luxembourg. She represents the British Army Nursing Service, and was painted in the indoor uniform of the Queen Alexandra Nursing Service. After returning to Australia from her war service in France, Miss Loughron opened a private hospital at Camberwell, which she conducted for 10 years. Miss Loughron has never missed an Anzac Day march, and since 1920 has each year placed a wreath on the Edith Cavell memorial each Anzac morning. And now Miss Loughron is to have a holiday. – MARIE VRANISAN. [Photo] The Argus, Fri 16 Jun 1939: DEATHS LOUGHRON – On the 10th June, at Box Hill, James, eldest son of the late William and Mary Loughron, Winchelsea, brother of Annie (Mrs Synot, Warrnambool), Thomas (Melbourne), Christina (Mrs Thornley, Gnotuk, Camperdown), Kate (Mrs Schroeter, Winchelsea), John (Yea), Sister Mary (Melbourne), William (Werribee), Allan, and Una (deceased).