Mac who was an In-Pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, had a natural Irish charm, a good sense of humour and a ready wit. These attributes made him an ideal candidate for a tour guide at the Hospital, a position he held for a number of years.

Sgt CPM McLaughlin
Sgt CPM McLaughlin

Mac was born in Dublin on the 31st December 1926 but apparently grew up in the London area and worked as a carpenter until he enlisted in April 1945 aged nineteen. On enlistment into the General Service Corps, he did his basic training at Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow.

Allotted to the RAC and trained as a Gnr/Sig at Catterick he then joined the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment at Palmanova, Italy, where the Regiment was carrying out border patrols on the Italian/Yugoslavia border.

In Autumn 1946 2nd RTR moved to Luneberg, BAOR, and Mac was promoted to Corporal in June 1947 and to Sergeant in August the same year. In early August 1948, he was posted in the rank of Sergeant to The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars who were stationed in the UK at Colchester.

The 4th Hussars were on standby to serve a three-year tour in Malaya in the Far East and to bring the Regiment up to strength for the tour of some four hundred regular Regiment. They sailed for Malaya on the 19th of August 1948. Mac served at various locations in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong as a Troop Sergeant.

Mac was hospitalised in Singapore in December 1951 with a duodenal ulcer and as a result, was returned to the UK and eventually discharged with a medical disability pension in April 1952 having served almost seven years.

He was awarded the Defence Medal, 1939/45 War Medal, GSM Malaya.

In civilian life, Mac appears to have had a very varied assortment of employment. He initially worked for a Stationery Company in East Cheap London followed by a printing company in Margate Kent.

In 1966 the family emigrated to South Africa and then in 1976 to Rhodesia where he joined the Rhodesian Police Force and served with them until 1979 when he returned to the UK.

He was awarded the Rhodesian Police Medal.

In 1980 Mac became a Civil Servant with the Central Office of Information, followed by three years with the Metropolitan Police at Scotland Yard until he retired in 1993.

He joined the Royal Hospital Chelsea as an in-pensioner in September 2002.

In his younger days, Mac was an all-around sportsman. He swam, and played hockey, tennis and football (up to regimental and army standard) in the Far East along with his old friend Harry (Ginger) Bowden.

During his time at the Hospital his interests were quite varied, they included, football, travel, Italian and his position as a Tour Guide within the hospital and golf, which I understand was much better than his golf buggy driving skills which left something to be desired.

He was a staunch Roman Catholic and very involved with the Catholic Community at the St Michaels Roman Catholic Chapel where he was employed as an Orderly for a period of time. All in all he appeared to have had a very interesting life.

Mac died in the infirmary at the royal hospital as a result of cancer on the 4th March 2011 aged 84 years.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Malaya 1948-51