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Lt. Gordon Smithson Matthews

Name/Rank: Lieutenant Gordon Smithson Matthews

Battalions: 3rd Divisional Supply Column,

Born/Current Town: Peterborough

Known as in Letters: Gordon Matthews


Gordon Matthews is one of the names that pops up fairly often in the letters that Vincent sends home. I would assume from this that they were pretty good friends and that the families would have been pretty familiar with each other as well. Though from the same home town, and only signing up some months before Vincent, Matthews was not assigned to the 93rd Battalion, but alternatively to the 3rd Divisional Supply Column. Oddly enough, in his files, his Officer Declaration Paper has 93rd scratched out and handwritten in it's place is "Div Sup Col", as can be seen below. You can also see him in the Nominal Roll for the Supply Column below that.

Lt. Gordon Smithson Matthews Officers' Declaration Paper

Matthews was mentioned in 5 of Vincent's letters home, Here is what he had to say:

"I saw Gordon Matthews [&] speak [to] in from last night and he is looking well. Folkestone is about as Canadian as Toronto now, you meet Peterboro people everywhere."

"Met Bensford Hamilton about two weeks ago and he had seen Gordon Matthews not long ago."

"Met Gordon Matthews the other day as he was going out to rest. I saw him about two hundred yards down a road and beat it after him. It is the first time I have seen him in France. He certainly looks fine and as fat as ever."

"Met Gordon Matthews, Wilfred Stratton, Merideth Huycke and all the rest. Stratton is just on his way home."

"Was with Gordon Matthews and Meridith Huycke for a short time, also Walton Stevenson."

So as you can see, most of the mentions in the letters of are no real importance. Though, he must have been a pretty good friend if almost every time he met him through the war he felt the need to write home about it. The same sorts of people, like Meridith Huycke, seem to come up close to Matthews name, probably from the same friend circle.

When looking into Matthews records, a couple of things come up that are some what interesting. He spent a decent amount of time in France it seems, but there is not much on his record about any exploits there. Most of what is on his record started to happen around June 1917. It seems that poor Gordon was admitted to the Duchess of Westminster Hospital (the same one Vincent first went to after his injury) for 7 days at the end of June with a P.U.O.. I looked that up and that was what was commonly given to a soldier that had trench fever and stood for 'Pyrexia of Unknown Origin'. If you want to know more about that you can here. It looks like this kept him out of the war from then on. After the hospital he was sent to the reinforcement camp in Etaples, and then by August he was back in Shorncliffe, and finally by February he was sent home to Canada. It is interesting to note that on his return to Canada, presumably due to his illness, he was not allowed to be exposed to the public for a couple of months.

That is about it for Gordon Matthews. He survived the war without a scratch, except for a fever.

Thank you all for reading! Make sure to share and if there are any Matthews still around the Peterborough area that you know of let them know he was mentioned!

Michael Ritchie


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