WW1 Edward Newton Matthews 10081

Corporal Edward Newton Matthews [1]

Edward Newton Matthews was born 6 March 1896 in Auckland, the eldest son of Ellen and Newton Matthews of 18 Benson Road, Remuera. Edward’s father worked in the Registration Department of the Chief Post Office, Auckland.

Edward attended Auckland Grammar School in 1911, having gained a free junior place from Remuera Primary School. After leaving school he joined the staff of the National Bank, but resigned to take up farming with his uncles at Paengaroa, in the Bay of Plenty.

When he enlisted at the age of 19, he was 5ft 8 inches tall, had fair hair and grey eyes. He went through his training at Featherston with A Company of the Mounted Rifles, but was one of the men, who a few days prior to the departure of the 11th Reinforcements, volunteered to go with the Infantry and was a member of the J Company thus formed which won high praise from the Minister of Defence (James Allen) for their unselfish action.

He left Wellington on 1 April 1916 from Wellington for Suez, Egypt on the vessel ‘Tahiti’ or “Maunganui’ as a Lance Corporal. He was later promoted to the rank of Corporal. He reached France in July 1916 and served continuously with the 2nd Battalion, 16th Waikato Regiment through the first Somme offensive. He was wounded in two places on the left arm on 21 February 1917. He was invalided out to England to No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames spending several months there and later at Hornchurch and Codford hospitals. While still classed as health category ‘B2’ (Able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes), he acted as instructor in bombing, wire entanglement and gas work at Sling, England.

Matthews Memorial [2]

He was posted to France in March 1917 and served during April and May with the Otago Entrenching Battalion, then joined the 1st Battalion of his old regiment. [1] The months of August and September 1918 were the New Zealand Division’s final offensive of World War I, at the Battle of Bapaume on the Western Front. From 24 August 1918, in a single day the New Zealanders captured the town of Grévillers, Loupart Wood and the village of Biefvillers.

The following day they began to surround the town of Bapaume, where several major roads intersected. The German defenders resisted the siege until the night of 28 August 1918, when they retreated to positions just east of Bancourt and Frémicourt. The New Zealanders entered Bapaume next day and continued to push the front line until they halted east of Bertincourt to regroup. Edward was reported missing and later reported as killed in action on 28 August 1918 in Bapaume. [2]

Matthews Article [3]

Matthews Article [3]

Edward was awarded the Western European medals for 1916, 1917, 1918. He is remembered in an obituary in the Auckland Grammar School Chronicle, third term, 1918. His name is on the memorials in St Aidan’s Church, Remuera, Auckland and on the Remuera Primary School memorial gates. Edward’s younger brother Victor Gordon Wodehouse Matthews (Service number 70316) (1897- 1992) served in Egypt during World War I, with the Mounted Rifles Brigade until he was discharged with malaria. His name is also on the Remuera Primary School memorial gates. [3]