Early Years

When Margery Loughnan was born in October 1888 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, her father, Alfred, was 30, and her mother, Mildred, was 31. She had three brothers and five sisters1,2. In 1911 she was a Governess at a house near her family in Croydon3. She trained as a nurse at Guy’s Hospital, London 1913-1916, joining the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) (QAIMNS(R))in April 19164.

Nursing Service in Word War One

Margery Loughnan was a Staff Nurse in the QAIMNS(R) serving mostly in hospitals in the UK, with one posting to the Hospital Ship Karylan4. Her postings are listed on a copper plate.

Two of her sisters, Kathleen and Isabel served overseas with the Red Cross as VADs5. Her brother Edmund served as a telegraphist in the Royal Navy6.

Nursing Service between the wars

Staff Nurse Loughnan transferred from the Reserve to the Regular Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service on the 2nd May 19197. She had numerous postings during this period8,9,10, being promoted to Sister in 192611. She was in India at the start of World War Two.

Nursing Service in World War Two

By 1941 she was a Matron (acting Principal Matron) and was awarded the Royal Red Cross12. She was confirmed as a Principal Matron in 194213. In 1944 she was made an Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services in India14. Her citation reads:

For her conspicuously successful administration of the Nursing Services of the Eastern Army throughout its formation and action and especially during the period (June – October 43) under review. In spite of initial shortages of personnel and of the low standard of training of many of the A.N.S., she has raised the general standard of nursing throughout the Army area to a satisfactory level. By continued personal contact she has directed and improved nursing in hard pressed outstations and always provided nursing staffs for forward units as soon as these could be posted. By her cheerfully firm handling of some 750 members she has most ably administered the Nursing Service of the Eastern Army.

She served with the 14th Army. This was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from West and East African divisions within the British Army. It was often referred to as the “Forgotten Army” because its operations in the Burma Campaign were overlooked by the contemporary press, and remained more obscure than those of the corresponding formations in Europe for long after the war.

In June 1946 she was retired from her post as Principal Matron, but was then re-employed as a Matron16. She was reconfirmed as Principal Matron, and given the honorary title Chief Principal Matron in 194717,18.


  1. 1891 England Census RG12; Piece: 749; Folio: 127; Page: 57
  2. 1901 England Census  RG13; Piece: 990; Folio: 38; Page: 23
  3. 1911 England Census RG14; Piece: 3388; Schedule Number: 199
  4. UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968
  5. http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War
  6. The National Archives ADM 127/362 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Ratings Campaign Medal Rolls 1914-1920
  7. The London Gazette 20th February 1920 31789 p. 2151
  8. The Army List 1922
  9. The Army List 1933
  10. The Army List 1936
  11. The British Journal of Nursing, August 1926 p. 188
  12. The London Gazette 1st July 1941 Supplement p3751
  13. The London Gazette 1st December 1942 Second Supplement p.5259
  14. The London Gazette 19th October 1944 Supplement p.4784
  15. The National Archives WO 373/79 Pt.2
  16. The London Gazette 4th October 1946 Supplement p.4941
  17. The London Gazette 2th April 1947 Supplement p.1543
  18. The London Gazette 8th July 1947 Supplement p.3116

Indian Copper Tray bearing all of Margery Loughnan’s postings

Tray with Margery Loughnan's postings inscribed

Tray with Margery Loughnan’s postings inscribed


  • Brockenhurst 1916
  • Sheffield 1916
  • HS Kalyan 1917
  • Cosham 1918
  • Blandford 1918
  • Reading 1918


  • Aldershot 1919
  • Constantinople 1922
  • Gallipoli 1923
  • Millbank 1923
  • Colchester 1915
  • Allahabad 1927
  • Maymyo 1928
  • Rangoon 1930
  • Ranikhet 1930
  • Lucknow 1931
  • Jhansi 1931
  • Millbank 1932
  • Agra 1935
  • Peshawar 1937
  • Muree 1938
  • Lahore 1939
  • Oxford 1940
  • Millbank 1940
  • West Africa 1940
  • N.W. Army 1942
  • Eastern Army 1942
  • 14th Army 1943
  • C.M.F. 1944
  • HS Doresetshire 1946-47
  • RMA Sandhurst 1947-56