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Matthew Blundell was born in Preston in 1888 the youngest of four surviving children born to his parents George and Margaret Blundell (nee Hood). Matthew`s parents married in the Parish Church of St. John`s in Preston on the 30th March 1873 and they had a daughter and two more sons; Isabella (1873), Edward (1876) and George (1878).

In 1891 the family home was 31 Nelson Street in Preston where Matthew`s father worked as a cart driver, his mother and sister were both cotton weavers, brother Edward was an errand boy and his other brother George was labouring in the local biscuit works. By the time of the 1901 Census Matthew`s sister Isabella had married and his brother George had enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was serving overseas with the 2nd Battalion. Matthew`s father and brother Edward are both listed as cart drivers but Matthew now aged 12 had no occupation.

On the 20th May 1911 just a short while after the 1911 Census was taken Matthew married Mary Ann Parkinson in St. Paul`s Church in Preston and by the end of 1914 they had a daughter Lily (1912) and two sons Matthew (1913) and John (1914).

Matthew originally enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 26th May 1915 and was allocated the service number 3920 and posted to the 3/4th (Reserve) Battalion. He was 27 years and 7 months old and stood at five feet four and a half inches tall. At the time of his enlistment he was living with his wife Mary Ann and their three children at number 7 Young Street in Preston. Matthew only served for 114 days before being discharged as medically unfit on the 16th September 1915 while he was in training at Weeton Camp.

From later information it seems that Matthew had been working at Mr Riding`s corn merchants in Market Street in Preston before enlisting again into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the service number 23944 in April 1916.

In the June quarter of 1916 Mary Ann gave birth to the couples` fourth child, a son and they named him James.

Unfortunately there are no other papers available for Matthew`s service so information is fairly limited. However, the newspaper cutting below indicates that he went to France probably around the middle of July 1916 and within a week or two of landing he was posted to the 9th Battalion. The 9th Battalion war diary does mention that they received a draft of 28 men on the 1st August 1916 when they were in the trenches around Beaumont-Hamel so it`s very likely this is when Matthew joined them.

By the 19th August 1916 the 9th Battalion had been moved to the trenches on the left of Thiepval and this is where sadly on the 22nd August Matthew was killed in action.

His family informed the Preston Guardian of his death and they later published the following article;23944 Lance Corporal Matthew Blundell

Sadly, tragedy had already struck the Blundell family four days prior to Matthew`s death when his new baby son James passed away on the 19th August 1916.

Matthew`s body was recovered from the battlefield and he was later laid to rest in Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuille.  After the war Mary Ann would have received her husband`s British War and Victory Medals.

On the 22nd August 1917 a memorial notice appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post;

In loving memory of Lance Corporal Matthew Blundell who was killed in action August 22nd 1916 and also his child, James died August 19th 1916.

Too far away thy grave to see

but not too far to think of thee.

“Gone but not forgotten”

From his sorrowing wife, children and family of No.10 Lutwidge Street, Preston

Photo courtesy of Mr Larry Allen

Photo courtesy of Mr Larry Allen

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 23944
Date of Death: 22/08/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.
Grave Reference: VII. B. 4.

Additional family information

Matthew`s brother – 11225 Private George Blundell 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. George embarked for France on the 22nd September 1914 and was reported missing and later presumed to have died on the 22nd December 1914 at Givenchy.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 23944 LCPL. M. BLUNDELL. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. christopher allen says:

    I would like to hear from any member of the Blundell family if possible, as part of my ongoing family tree research project.

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