In December 1936 McLaren appeared on consecutive Sundays's sports pages in his role as rugby referee
‘Ted’ McLaren first played rugby for the Shanghai Rugby Football Club in November 1924. His last game was against Hankow in 1926 reprising his first interport cap against the same team in 1925. His playing days over, he became much better known as a first choice referee, a service he was rewarded for by being made a Vice President of the Club in 1938.
Ted won five international caps for Scotland and scored three tries. His first game was against France in January 1923 when, in front of 45,000 spectators he scored two of his three tries. Also scoring for Scotland that day was Olympian Eric Henry Liddell. McLaren and Liddell played together for Scotland on four occasions. McLaren’s last game (his first without Liddell) was less than one year after his debut when he played on New Year’s Day 1924 also against France, this time in Paris.
Ted and Eric were friends in Tientsin where Eric was a missionary and Ted a business man working for Butterfield and Swire. During the War, McLaren was first incarcerated with his wife and daughter in Tientsin before being transferred to Weihsien Camp in March 1943. Eric Liddell who accompanied him in both camps was alone, his wife daughter and unborn child had left China at Eric’s insistence. Unfortunately Liddell did not survive the War. He died 21 February 1945 of a brain tumour, never having held his newly born daughter.
McClaren spoke at Liddell’s memorial service held in the prison camp. He recalled that "...we played [Rugby] in the same side and against one another for... three years and never once did he show the slightest sign of bad temper or bad sportsmanship... both... were utterly foreign to him... [He had] that characteristic of never to give in ― he was never beaten but always trying... no truer sportsman ever drew on a running shoe... “.
McLaren also died young, he was just 47 years old when he died in March 1950 less than five years after the birth of his second daughter in Tienstin.
Edward 'Ted' McLaren (1903? - 1950)