Vera Laughton Mathews
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Dame Elvira Sibyl Marie Laughton Mathews, née Laughton; 25 September 1888 — 25 September 1959) was a British military officer and administrator. She was the second Director of the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS), serving from its reformation in 1939 until 1946.(
Dame Vera Laughton Mathews
|Born||25 September 1888|
|Died||25 September 1959 (aged 71)|
Ashley Gardens, London
|Service/||Women's Royal Naval Service|
|Years of service||1918–1919|
|Commands held||Women's Royal Naval Service (1939–46)|
|Battles/wars||First World War|
Second World War
|Awards||Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire|
|Relations||Sir John Knox Laughton (father)|
Early life and familyEdit
Mathews was born in Hammersmith, London, on 25 September 1888 to Sir John Knox Laughton and María Josefa de Alberti of Cadiz, Spain. She had three brothers and one sister. Mathews was educated at the Convent of St. Andrew in Streatham, and Tournai, in Belgium. Later, she attended King's College London.
Vera Laughton was married to Gordon Mathews from 10 June 1924 until his death in 1943; they had two sons and one daughter.
Mathews joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) on its establishment in 1918, and was appointed to the rank of principal officer (equivalent to a Royal Navy lieutenant commander).
She was initially the Unit Officer of the WRNS Training Depot at The Crystal Palace in south London; the Depot was wound up immediately after the Armistice was signed in November 1918 as recruitment had ceased and she went on to serve in various posts on the east coast of Britain until demobilisation in 1919. She later served as Director of the re-founded Women's Royal Naval Service from 11 April 1939 until November 1946.
The Vera Laughton Mathews' Award charity was created on 21 March 1969 with the aim of supporting the education and training of the daughters of former WRNS personnel. The charity was disbanded in 2012.
- Sub-editor, Suffragette & Ladies' Field.
- Editor, Time and Tide.
- Girl Guide Commissioner
- Skipper of Sea Rangers
- Chairman, St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance
- Chairman, Domestic Coal Consumers' Council (1947–1950)
- President, National Smoke Abatement Society (1949–1951)
- Member of the South-Eastern Gas Board (SEGAS) (1949–1959)
- Adviser on Women's Affairs to the Gas Council
- Life President, Association of Wrens
- President, St. Joan's International Social and Political Alliance
- Chair of the Status of Women Committee, St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance
- President, Mermaid Swimming Club
- Member, Council Girl Guides Association
Blue Tapestry, published by Hollis & Carter in London, 1948