MATTHEWS, Ernest Frank
(Service number 43107)
|Aliases||Known as Ernie|
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Trooper|
|Date||5 April 1892||Place of Birth||Opihi, Timaru|
|Address at Enlistment||Ngutuwera|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||F. O. MATTHEWS (father), Ngutuwera|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||25th Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles|
|Date||31 May 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Wellington Mounted Rifles|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||1 April 1918||Age||25 years 11 months|
|Place of Death||Palestine,Middle East|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Jerusalem Memorial, Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel|
|New Zealand Memorials||Waverley Memorial Clock|
Ernest Frank Matthews, known as Ernie, was born on 5 April 1892 at Timaru (probably at Opihi) and baptised at St Albans Anglican Church, Pleasant Point. He was the second son of Frank Octavius Matthews, from Wales, and Elizabeth (née Collett) Matthews, of Raincliffe Station. Frank and Elizabeth, who had married in 1883, had a family of thirteen, although one daughter and one son died in infancy. Eleven of the children were born in South Canterbury. Ernest received his early education at Opihi School along with many of his siblings. There, in 1899, he received a Standard II prize. The annual treat in connection with the Opihi School which was held in late December 1900, “proved one of the most successful picnics ever commemorated in this locality.” “About 5 o’clock the prizes were given out . . . . Every Child attending school received a handsomely bound volume.” Ernie and several of his siblings would be among the happy recipients. At the 1902 usual school treat and distribution of prizes, the twenty-five children each received a valuable book prize. Among a few who won special prizes were Ernie and Fred Matthews, their awards being for “the best attenders living within half a mile of the school.” Mr Matthews served on the Opihi School Committee, at some time as chairman. He was also a member of the Pleasant Point Sports Committee and the Pleasant Point Caledonian Society. In February 1905 Ernie transferred to Pleasant Point School. At the Opihi School annual picnic and distribution of prizes in December 1905, Mrs Matthews received second prize for the “yearling class” in the judging of babies – baby Mary Priscilla Gwendolyn Matthews, the second youngest of the Matthews children and last to be born at Opihi. About 1907 the family moved to Waihika in the North Island and subsequently to Waverley.
Ernest was farming with his father when he enlisted. Trooper Matthews embarked per the “Moeraki” at Wellington on 31 May 1917, with the Mounted Rifles of the 25th Reinforcements. At Sydney he transhipped to the “Port Lincoln” for Suez, Egypt. 43107 Ernest Frank Matthews, Wellington Mounted Rifles, was reported missing on 1 April 1918. By November a Court of Enquiry had determined that he had been killed in action, on1 April 1918 in Palestine. .
Of the 38 men commemorated on the Waverley Memorial Clock, which was unveiled by the Prime Minister on 28 October 1925, two of them are the Matthews brothers – Pvt E. F. Matthews and Sgt F. C. Matthews MM. The inscription at the top reads – “For God and Humanity They whose names are inscribed hereon Men of this District Laid down their lives in the Great War 1914-1918.” And that below reads – “Erected by their fellow citizens in proud and loving memory and as a thanksgiving that such men were of their number.” Ernest’s brother, Frederick Collett Matthews was also killed in action in 1918, and his sister, Charlotte Henrietta Matthews gave lengthy service as a nurse.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [27 May 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [27 May 2021]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [May 2021]; Temuka Leader, 30 December 1899, 5 January 1901, Timaru Herald, 4 January 1901, 22 December 1902, 19 December 1905, South Canterbury Times, 4 January 1901 (Papers Past) [18 & 31 May 2021]; https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/waverley-memorial-clock [28 May 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [28 May 2021]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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