Richard Thomas MATTHEWS


MATTHEWS, Richard Thomas

Service Number: 4253
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 6th Infantry Battalion
Born: Murchison, Victoria, Australia, 1885
Home Town: Murchison, Greater Shepparton, Victoria
Schooling: Murchison State School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in action, France, 25 July 1916
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

29 Dec 1915: Involvement Private, SN 4253, 6th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
29 Dec 1915: Embarked Private, SN 4253, 6th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Demosthenes, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Brother 44299 Private Daniel Murray Matthews 1st Battalion Auckland Regiment NZEF killed in action 13 September 1918 age 32. Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery. V. E. 18. France. Son of Mrs. M. J. Matthews, of Watson St., Murchison, Victoria, Australia.Killed in action, Havrincourt France.

On Commemorative Roll at AWM.

Murchison Advertiser and Murchison, Toolamba, Mooroopna and Dargalong Express (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), Friday 11 August 1916, page 2




When the daily papers recently announced that the Australian troops were in the thick of the fighting in France, and that they had Buffered some severe casualties, it was realised that this district would indeed be fortunate if the boys who volunteered these parts all escaped injury or death. Although no outward sign of anxiety has been displayed, for the past week or so there has been an undercurrent of concern regarding the safety of our friends and relatives who are lighting the nation's battles in France; who are taking part in that great Allied offensive, the object of which is to drive the Legions of the Hun back across the Rhine. As far as Murchison is concerned these fears were confirmed on Monday morning last, when Mr and Mrs Thomas Matthews received a message from the Defence Dept. to the effect that their son, Private R. T. Matthews, had paid the supreme sacrifice of war by giving his life for his country. The message stated that Private Matthews had been killed in action on the 25th July. The gloom that such a message cast over the town and district, where Private Matthews was so well and favorably known, is hard to describe. Sympathy for the bereaved parents and family was expressed on all sides, and the severity of the blow was only tempered by the knowledge that the departed soldier had died the beat of deaths—he had given his life for his country and his countrymen. Thus, oven in their darkest moments, the bereaved relatives can find one ray of sunshine in the self-sacrifice of their son and brother, for—" Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." We grieve for his loss—his country can ill spare the like of him—and we join with our readers in re-echoing the message of the Defence authorities to his parents — " In your great loss you have our deep and heartfelt sympathy."

The late Private Richard Thomas Matthews was the second eldest son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Matthews, of Watson street, Murchison. He was a native of Murchison, being born at that place in September, 1882, and thus, had he lived, would have been 34 years of age next month. He was well known and widely respected throughout the district, in fact, it is no exaggeration to state that there was no more popular young fellow in the district than the late Dick Matthews. He identified himself with most sporting institutions in the town, his particular hobby being coursing, and he was for many years a prominent and popular member of "the local branch of the A.N.A. About this time last year, he, together with a batch of other young fellows from the town, offered his "services to his country, was accepted, and after spending a few months in camp, sailed for the front on the 30th December last. He did not take part in the Gallipoli campaign, but after spending a time in Egypt went straight to the trenches in France. He had been in the firing line for about six weeks when the end came. The late Private Matthews developed one outstanding characteristic since he had been abroad. He was a Trojan to correspond with his friends. Every mall brought along a budget of letters and post cards from " Dick," and there are few residents of the town, either young or old, who have not got some small token or other with which to remember the departed hero by.

At the fortnightly meeting of the Murchison branch of the A.N.A., held on Tuesday evening last, the president (Mr D. J. Shewan) referred to the great loss the branch had sustained through the death of Member R. T. Matthews. Private Matthews had been a member of the branch for 17 years, and daring that long period he had proved himself to be a good Australian Native by always taking a keen interest in the doings of the branch and the objects of the Association. They (his fellow-members) deeply deplored his death, and their hearts went out in sympathy to the bereaved parents, brothers and sisters. He moved—That a record be made in the minutes of the services rendered to the branch and his country by the late Member Matthews, and that the secretary be instructed to forward a letter of condolence to the bereaved relatives.