Appeal over Irish man who drowned with Kitchener in 1916

Metropolitan Police attempt to locate relatives of top official’s personal bodyguard

Det Sgt Matthew McLoughlin from Ballycommin, Co Tipperary, was Kitchener’s personal protection officer when the HMS Hampshire hit a mine and sank on June 5th, 1916

Det Sgt Matthew McLoughlin from Ballycommin, Co Tipperary, was Kitchener’s personal protection officer when the HMS Hampshire hit a mine and sank on June 5th, 1916

 

The Metropolitan Police in London has issued an appeal to find relatives of an Irish man who drowned with Lord Kitchener 100 years ago.

Det Sgt Matthew McLoughlin from Ballycommin, Co Tipperary, was Kitchener’s personal protection officer when the HMS Hampshire hit a mine and sank on June 5th, 1916.

McLoughlin was the only one of the Metropolitan Police’s royalty and specialist protection unit to die on duty during the first World War.

He was born in Kilcommon, Co Tipperary, on February 6th, 1879, the son of a RIC man. He joined the Met Police in 1900 and the special branch in 1909.

McLoughlin’s stock within Scotland Yard soared after he warned his superiors of a possible assassination plot against the Secretary of State for India Sir Curzon Wylie. His warning went unheeded and Wylie was assassinated in 1909.

Prior to becoming the personal protection officer for Kitchener, he had provided security for King Edward VII and King George V.

Kitchener was appointed secretary of state for war in 1914, a cabinet position, and was Britain’s most senior soldier responsible for the recruitment of millions of volunteers to what became Kitchener’s army.

French speaker

McLoughlin accompanied Kitchener everywhere and was fluent in French.

Kitchener was on his way to Russia to meet Czar Nicholas II to discuss tactics for the coming summer Allied offensive. He had an entourage of 11 with him including Leitrim-born diplomat Hugh James O’Beirne.

The ship left Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands on the afternoon of June 5th. It hit a German mine in heavy seas and all but 12 of the 662 men on board drowned including Kitchener.

McLoughlin was well known in police circles. An obituary published after his death stated that he was “an exceptionally capable officer, possessed a good acquaintance with the French language and was noted for his discretion”.

The Metropolitan Police still retain responsibility for the protection of the British royal family and senior members of the British government.

The royalty and specialist protection command intends to name a room in its new headquarters in London after McLoughlin and are trying to track down his relatives.

McLoughlin had one son Michael who appears to have emigrated to Venezuela in the 1920s and disappeared. Attempts by Scotland Yard to find surviving relatives have proved to be unsuccessful to date.

If you believe you are a relative of any of the above, or have any information that might assist the Met in tracing a living relative, please email scott.hamer@met.police.uk and richard.roe@met.police.uk