(Service number 23/984)
|First Rank||Corporal||Last Rank||Sergeant|
|Date||16 January 1888||Place of Birth||Waimate|
|Date||28 April 1915||Age||25 years 1 month|
|Address at Enlistment||Main Street, Masterton|
|Previous Military Experience||Studholme Mounted Rifles - 2 years, then left the district.|
|Next of Kin||Miss Monica WALL (sister), 72 Abberley Road, Christchurch. Previously of 140 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch & of Sacred Heart Convent, Christchurch.|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 9é inches. Weight 163 lbs. Chest measurement 34-37 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair brown. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth fair. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Never had any illness or any fits. Declared Fit.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||D Company|
|Date||9 October 1915|
|Transport||Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo|
|Embarked From||Wellington, N.Z.||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||New Zealand Rifle Brigade; 1st Battalion|
|Service Medals||1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
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
On 10 September 1916 he was admitted to the Main Dressing Station, France, where he died of gunshot wounds the same day.
|Date||10 September 1916||Age||28 years|
|Place of Death||Main Dressing Station, France|
|Cause||Died of wounds (gunshot wound)|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Quarry Cemetery, Montauban, Somme, France. Memorial on parents' headstone in Waimate Old Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||VI. I. 12. Waimate Old Cemetery - Plot 183|
|New Zealand Memorials||Memorial wall, Timaru (as WALL H M); Waimate War Memorial (as H. M. WALL)|
Matthew Wall was born on 18 January 1888 at Waimate and baptised at the Catholic Church there on 5 February, one of nine children born to Nicholas and Fanny (née McGovern) Wall. His father died in 1900 in Dunedin, where he had gone for medical treatment, leaving a relatively young family. He was described as a kind husband and devoted father. Thereafter Matthew went to St Patrick’s College in Wellington, where in 1901 he gained merit in Authors and Arithmetic. The following year as a trustee in his father’s estate, he came to the defence of his mother over the sale of a trap, harness, and an extra pair of wheels. Matthew was still living in Waimate in February 1911 when he visited Christchurch, perhaps to call on his mother who by then was living in Christchurch.
At the time of volunteering and his subsequent enlistment he was working as a shepherd in Masterton and enlisted there on 28 April 1915, joining the Sixth Reinforcements. Before moving north he had served for two years with the Studholme Mounted Rifles. At the time of enlisting he was a member of the Puketoi Cricket Club and batted most successfully for a win in their match against Carlton.
Late in April he left with a group from Masterton for Trentham camp. His next-of kin was his sister, Miss Monica Wall, at the Sacred Heart Convent, Christchurch.
Matthew disembarked initially at Suez on 15 November 1915; he then proceeded to Alexandria where he disembarked on 15 February 1916. On 28 March 1916 he was appointed Lance Sergeant, and on 11 June 1916 in the Field in France he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He left New Zealand as a fit and healthy man and appears to have avoided illness and wounds until the fatal gunshot wound which caused his death on 10 September 1916, at the Main Dressing Station in France. Where in France was Matthew wounded? Was he, perhaps, involved with the New Zealand Division as it moved into the line between High and Delville woods preparing for the first major engagement on the Western Front – the Battle of the Somme? Matthew was one of twenty-seven old boys of St, Patrick’s College, Wellington, who had died at the front since the beginning of the war and were remembered in a Requiem Mass celebrated in early August 1917.
It would appear that Matthew may have had life insurance as the National Mutual Life and Citizen Assurance Company was advised of his service and death. He signed a short form of will on 2 September 1915, naming only his sister Monica but making no provisions. On 5 July 1917 his estate was valued at approximately £20 military pay and administered by the Public Trustee. Matthew left a "Pay Book Will" in favour of Monica too.
Buried at the Quarry Cemetery at Montauban, Somme, France, he is also remembered on his parents’ headstone in the Waimate Old Cemetery. His name is recorded on the Timaru Memorial Wall (as WALL H. M.) and the Waimate War Memorial (as H. M. WALL). Matthew’s medals were sent to his sister Monica, and the scroll and plaque probably to his widowed mother who had moved to Christchurch some years before.
His older brother, Michael Wall, also served in World War One and a younger brother, Nicholas John Wall, served in both World Wars. A portriat of Mathhew Wall 23/984 appears in the book "Onward: Portraits of the NZEF", Vol. 1.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [15 August 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5557 0118271) [24 June 2014]; CWGC [16 August 2013]; Timaru Herald, 3 November 1900, 14 February 1902, 2 October 1916, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 6 November 1900, New Zealand Tablet, 12 December 1901, Press, 7 February 1911, 30 September 1916, Wairarapa Daily Times, 1 & 28 April 1915, 6 August 1917, Wairarapa Age, 3 April 1915 (Papers Past) [10 November 2013; 16 December 2013; 24 June 2014; 03 November 2014; 06 December 2015]; Headstone transcript Waimate Old Cemetery (South Canterbury Branch NZSG cemetery records microfiche) [27 July 2014]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) ; Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index (CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [21 June 2015]; Probate record (archives NZ/FamilySearch) [01 May 2015 & 05 December 2015]; ]; Onward: Portraits of the NZEF, Vol. 1 (held by the South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [08/11/2014]
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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