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Mathias was born in Preston in 1878 the son of William and Ellen Dunderdale (nee Fiddler). His parents had married in St. Mary`s Church in Preston on Christmas Eve 1873 and William was one of four children born to the couple, the other three being;

  • Elizabeth Ann (1876)
  • Richard (1880)
  • William (1883)

In 1881 the family home was at 20 Brewery Street in Preston where Mathias` father was working as a cotton spinner and his mother as a weaver. By 1891 twelve year old Mathias was working as a cotton creeler and the family had moved house again, this time to 21 Albyn Bank Road in Preston. Ten years later when the 1901 Census was recorded Mathias` father William had become a beer seller and the family had moved into the Paradise Tavern in Preston. Only Mathias and his two younger brothers remained at home, Mathias and Richard were both cotton spinners and William was a flagger and slater.

In 1904 Mathias married Harriet Hall in St. George the Martyrs Church in the centre of Preston and seven years on from their marriage the 1911 Census shows Mathias and Harriet living at 19 Albyn Bank Road with their three daughters; Ellen (1905), Rebecca (1907) and six month old Elizabeth Ann (1910).

According to later newspaper information pre-war Mathias was employed at Messrs. Horrockses,  Crewdsons Co.`s Mills and he enlisted in about May 1915, joining Captain Hollins Company of the 11tth (Reserve) Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. After a period of training Mathias sailed to Gallipoli with reinforcements on the 14th November 1915 to join the 6th Battalion LNL. The 6th Battalion coming under the Command of 38th Brigade in 13th (Western) Division. However, by the time the reinforcements arrived the decision had already been taken to evacuate the Gallipoli Peninsula. By mid-December the Battalion had finally been evacuated and had sailed to the Greek Island of Lemnos where they remained for about a month. They were then transferred to Egypt going via Port Said where they were engaged for a while in canal defence work before moving on to Basra where they landed on the 5th March 1916. The Battalion then sailed up the River Tigris to Sheikh Saad where they become part of the British Army`s 30,000 strong force whose objective it was to relieve the British and Indian troops being besieged by the Turks in the city of Kut-al-Amara. The force had some initial success in an attack between 6th – 9th April but ultimately the whole operation was a failure and after five months of defence and the loss of 24,000 men, killed, wounded or taken prisoner the city of Kut-al-Amara surrendered on the 28th April 1916. According to the Battalion War History, of those 24,000 men, at least 10,000 may have occurred since the 13th Division was first engaged.

Sadly, Mathias Dunderdale was one of the men who lost his life in that operation, his date of death recorded as 21st April 1916. His family was informed of his death and they had the following information printed in one of the Preston newspapers;

After the war Harriet would have taken receipt of the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals that her husband was entitled to and would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

As Mathias has no known grave his name was later inscribed on the Basra Memorial to the Missing.

Mathias` family also completed a submission form for him to be remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in his home town of Preston (pictured below) and then underneath that, his name as it appears on the Roll of Honour;

Copy of the original RoH submission form

Janet Davis
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