MATTHEWS, Frederick Collett
(Service number 10731)
|Aliases||Known as Fred|
|First Rank||Sergeant||Last Rank||Sergeant|
|Date||20 April 1895||Place of Birth||Opihi, Timaru|
|Date||16 November 1915||Age||20 years|
|Address at Enlistment||339 The Terrace, Wellington|
|Previous Military Experience||Territorials - serving|
|Next of Kin||F. O. MATTHEWS (father), Ngutuwera, Waverley; later "Caerleon", Smith Street, Waverley|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||1st New Zealand Cyclist Company|
|Date||6 May 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||New Zealand Cyclist Battalion|
|Military Awards||Military Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
For gallantry on the field of action. London Gazette, 29 August 1918
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||23 July 1918||Age||23 years|
|Place of Death||France|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Marfaux (New Zealand) Memorial, Marfaux British Cemetery, Marne, France|
|New Zealand Memorials||Waverley Memorial Clock|
Frederick Collett Matthews, known as Fred, was born on 20 April 1895 at Timaru (probably at Opihi) and baptised at St Albans Anglican Church, Pleasant Point. He was the third 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. Fred received his early education at Opihi School along with many of his siblings, transferring to Gleniti School near Timaru in February 1906. 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.” Was Fred among the happy recipients, along with several of his siblings? 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 Fred and Ernie 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.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.
Frederick Matthews was successful in the civil service examinations and, when he enlisted on 16 November 1915 at Trentham, he was a civil servant for the Public Trust in Wellington. Sergeant Matthews embarked with the 1st New Zealand Cyclist Company per the “Mokoia” at Wellington on 6 May 1916 at Wellington, destined for Suez, Egypt. In 1918 10731 Lance-Sergeant Frederick Collett Matthews was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry on the field of action. Before the award was gazetted, Matthews was killed in action – on 23 July 1918 in France.
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 – Sgt F. C. Matthews MM and Pvt E. F. Matthews. 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.” Fred’s brother, Ernest Frank 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]; Timaru Herald, 4 January 1901, 22 December 1902, 19 December 1905, South Canterbury Times, 4 January 1901, Temuka Leader, 5 January 1901, Patea Mail, 10 March 1916, 5 May 1916, 3 October 1917, 3 July 1918, 10 September 1919, Evening Post, 28 June 1918, NZ Times, 29 June 1918, Wanganui Herald, 14 August 1918 (Papers Past) [28 & 31 May 2021]; https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/waverley-memorial-clock [28 May 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [28 May 2021
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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