The AIF Project

Herbert Henry MATHEWS

Regimental number4552
Place of birthLongford, Tasmania
Other NamesMATTHEWS, Herbert Henry
SchoolState School, Tasmania
ReligionBaptist
OccupationLabourer
AddressLongford, Tasmania
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 6"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mr W Mathews, Longford, Tasmania
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets, 92nd Battalion, B Company.
Enlistment date5 October 1915
Place of enlistmentClaremont, Tasmania
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A69 Warilda on 8 February 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll4552
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll52nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 September 1916
Place of death or woundingMouquet Farm, France
Age at death19
Age at death from cemetery records19
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
155
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Annie MATHEWS, Longford, Tasmania
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

3rd Training Bn, disembarked Suez, 8 March 1916.

Taken on strength, 52nd Bn, Serapeum, 19 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 5 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 12 June 1916.

Reported missing in action, France, 4 September 1916.

Now, 24 April 1917, amended to 'killed in action, France, 4 September 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1740308, 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10.10.1919.'

Statement, 4457 Pte A. BROOKE, D Company, 52nd Bn, No. 16 Platoon (patient, 8th General Hospital, Rouen), 7 May 1917: 'Informant said he knew a Mathews in D Company No. 16 Platoon who was called "Jock", used to work on a sheep farm and came from Lomford [sic], Tasmania. This man was killed at Mouquet Farm and Informant saw him hit and blown up by a shell just after going over the top. He was only a few yards away.'

Second statement, 3786 Pte George CHRISTISON, A Company, 52nd Bn (patient 16th Hospital, The Avenue, Brondesbury, London N.W., England), 28 December: 'Informant states that on Sept: 4th 1916 at Mouquet Farm he was also wounded, went with H. H. Matthews to the Dressing Station. Matthews was seriouly wounded in the head. After his wound was dressed, he was sent on to the Casualty Clearing station. Another man in A Company has received letters from Matthews and informant thinks they were addressed from a Hospital in France. Informant does not remember the name of the comrade who said he had received a letter from Matthews.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsSurname for Soldier and Next of Kin incorrectly entered on Embarkation Roll as MATTHEWS.
SourcesNAA: B2455, MATHEWS Herbert Henry
Red Cross File No 1740308

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