Vera Laughton Mathews

Dame Elvira Sibyl Marie Laughton Mathews, DBE (née Laughton; 25 September 1888 — 25 September 1959)[1] 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
MRS WINSTON CHURCHILL VISITS WRNS HEADQUARTERS. SEPTEMBER 1941, QUEEN ANNE'S MANSIONS. MRS V LAUGHTON MATHEWS, DIRECTOR, WRNS, INTRODUCED MRS CHURCHILL TO EACH OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AT TH A5490.jpg
Born(1888-09-25)25 September 1888
Hammersmith, London
Died25 September 1959(1959-09-25) (aged 71)
Ashley Gardens, London
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchWomen's Royal Naval Service
Years of service1918–1919
1939–1946
RankDirector
Commands heldWomen's Royal Naval Service (1939–46)
Battles/warsFirst World War
Second World War
AwardsDame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
RelationsSir 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.[1] Later, she attended King's College London.[citation needed]

Vera Laughton was married to Gordon Mathews from 10 June 1924 until his death in 1943; they had two sons and one daughter.[citation needed]

Military careerEdit

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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[2]

JournalismEdit

  • Sub-editor, Suffragette & Ladies' Field.
  • Editor, Time and Tide.

AffiliationsEdit

  • 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

AutobiographyEdit

Blue Tapestry, published by Hollis & Carter in London, 1948

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Dame V. Laughton Mathews". The Times. London. 28 September 1959. p. 12. Retrieved 5 August 2014 – via The Times Digital Archive.
  2. ^ "Vera Laughton Mathews' Award". charitycommission.gov.uk. Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 13 February 2020.

External linksEdit