CWG: Private Herbert Matthews

Private Herbert Matthews

Herbert George Matthews was born in the autumn of 1886 in the Somerset village of Chillington. He was the oldest of two children to George and Elizabeth (known a Rosa) Matthews, and was baptised in the village church on Christmas Day that year.

George was a farm labourer, and this is work into which Herbert also followed. Rosa passed away in December 1910, leaving George a widow after 26 years of marriage.

War came to Europe in 1914, and Herbert signed up to play his part for King and Country. Full details of his service are not available, but he initially enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry. He soon transferred across to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (although the date of this is unclear) and was assigned to the 2nd/6th Battalion.

Private Matthews’ troop spent the war on the Western Front, and was involved at Fromelles, Ancre, Ypres and Cambrai. In the spring of 1918, he was caught up in the Battle of St Quentin – part of that year’s battles on the Somme. He was wounded, and medically evacuated to England, where he was admitted to the University War Hospital in Southampton.

Sadly, Private Matthews’ wounds proved too severe; he passed away from his injuries on 5th April 1918, at the age of 31 years old.

Herbert George Matthews was laid to rest in Chillington Cemetery, not far from where his mother was buried, and within walking distance of where his father still lived.

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