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Arthur Matthews was born in Wilmslow, Cheshire in 1887 and was the son of John James Matthews (born Rusholme, Lancashire) and Annie (born Hope, Derbyshire). Arthur had three brothers and two sisters; Harry (b. 1888), Conard (b. 1889), Leonard (b. 1890), Bertha (b. 1891) and Ethel (b. 1894).

The family are found on the 1891 census living at Spring bank cottage, Bollin Fee, Wilmslow. His father was employed as a painter. By 1891 they were at Rectory View, Wilmslow which remained the family home for (at least) the next 25/30 years. This census elaborates on his father’s profession by stating he was a ‘house painter’. Arthur was now 14 years old and had taken up employment working with cattle on a farm.

At the time of the 1911 census Arthur was found living with his wife, Mary, and their two year old daughter, Nancy, at Mill Brow, Wilmslow – he was still working on the farms. At some point over the next couple of years the family moved to Holly Cottage, Alma Lane, Wilmslow.

arthur matthews

Arthur Matthews

Unfortunately we were not able to locate his service papers, thus some of the following information is fairly vague.

At some point during the First World War, Matthew enlisted into the Army at Wilmslow and joined the Cheshire Regiment with the number 54986 although he didn’t serve overseas until being transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (number 34539) when he arrived in France sometime after January 1916.

Private Arthur Matthews was killed by shellfire in the vicinity of Ypres on 9th June 1917. His body was not recovered from the battlefield and as such he is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing. Arthur Matthews was 31 years old.

The 8th Battalion War Diary recorded;


7th June 1917. The Battalion was in position of Brigade Reserve to the 7th Infantry Brigade, in front of whom were the 75th Infantry Brigade who had passed through and captured the furthest objectives. The day of the 7th was spent in consolidating the newly won ground and the Battalion was also called upon to supply carrying parties for the forward units.

8th June 1917.  On the evening of the 8th orders were received to move forward at 9 p.m. and take over the line known as “THE DOTTED LINE” from the 75th Inf. Bde.  At 9 p.m. a heavy bombardment began and it was judged advisable to temporarily postpone the movement.

The bombardment slackened at 10 p.m. and the Battalion advanced. The Battalion relieved by the 8th L.N.Lancs was the 11th Cheshire Regiment. Considerable difficulty was experienced in effecting the relief owing to lack of time for preliminary reconnaissance and experienced guides. Relief however was reported complete at 3.15 a.m. on 9th inst.

9th June 1917. H/Q was first established in an open trench in the BLACK LINE but was subsequently moved to LUMM FARM. It had been intended to construct a new post on the right rear of THE DOTTED LINE’ for flank protection but on inspection this was found unnecessary as the New Zealanders on our right had already dug a trench which fulfilled all requirements. Fairly heavy and continuous shelling on or about ‘THE DOTTED LINE’ during the whole time it was held by the Battalion and a good many casualties occurred.

Mary received a small war gratuity and would later receive her late-husband’s British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal along with a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name and in recognition of his sacrifice.

The people of Wilmslow also presented his family a plaque, pictured below.arthur matthews plaque

Rank: Private
Service No: 34539
Date of Death: 09/06/1917
Age: 31
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 34539 PTE. A. MATTHEWS. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Roslyn Loades says:

    My Great Great Uncle Arthur. Thank you.

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