Breaking out of straight jackets… VC hero is a difficult patient

During this week in 1919, Sergeant Martin O’Meara VC (Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross winner of WW1) was mid-way through his first week at Perth’s Claremont Mental Hospital and was showing himself to be a difficult patient. O’Meara had suffered a serious mental breakdown in November 1918, shortly after returning to Australia.

Claremont Mental Hospital
Claremont Mental Hospital (taken a few years ago).

At around 2.15am on the night of 3-4 January 1919, his first night at Claremont, he escaped from his straight jacket and had to be restrained by the hospital attendants with the help of another patient. He was then medicated and slept for several hours. He escaped from his restraint again the following night and was ‘abusive and violent’ and was again medicated. He continued to break out of his straight jacket on the nights of 7 January, 9 January, 11 January, 12 January and 15 January 1919.

Martin O’Meara’s interesting life is detailed in my biography of him, The Most Fearless and Gallant Soldier I Have Ever Seen, which is now available from several places.