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MATHEWS, Norman Reginald MC (1891-1932)

MATHEWS, Dr Norman Reginald MC (1891-1932)

Norman Reginald Mathews was born in Newtown, Geelong on the 27th November 1891, the son of Francis Edwin Mathews and Emily Edith nee Beaumont. He was enrolled at Geelong College in 1900 and then studied at Ormond College, The University of Melbourne, where he graduated MB BS. He volunteered for the AIF immediately after graduation.

Early in 1916 in Sydney he married Marguerite Middleton, daughter of William and Jeanie Middleton. They resided at Springbank, O’Connor Street, Haberfield, New South Wales, when he enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) as a Captain on 11 April 1916. He embarked on 16 August on RMS Orontes, disembarked at Plymouth on 2 October, and arrived in France in November 1916. His first posting was to 3rd Tunnelling Company, then in January 1917 he transferred to the BEF, serving with 72nd Field Ambulance (24th Division). He was then seconded to 13th Middlesex as Regimental Medical Officer, and then transferred back to the AIF, to 4 Field Ambulance in May 1917. He was gassed at Zonnebeke in October 1917, and invalided to Australia, where he was hospitalised from June until October 1918. He resumed duty as Medical Registrar No 11 AGH, but on 11 December 1918 he was discharged as medically unfit for active service.

He had been awarded the Military Cross, gazetted on 5 June 1918, the citation read:

'This officer took part in the operations to the east of Ypres during October 1917 as a Bearer Captain. For a period of seven days October 15th - October 22nd he had charge of the evacuation of wounded from R.A.P.s on a route which was particularly difficult and constantly subjected to heavy shelling. He showed marked ability in the way he handled his Bearers and by his constant patrolling of the route and his disregard of personal danger, he encouraged his men to overcome their exhaustion so that the evacuation of wounded was carried out without a hitch. Since reporting to this Unit this officer has shown the greatest energy and efficiency and at all times his gallantry under fire has been an example to his fellow officers and an inspiration to his men.'

Mathews returned to Australia, embarking on HT A29 Suevic as Ship’s Staff Resident Medical Officer (RMO) on 21 April 1918.

Norman Mathews died at home in Ardrossan, South Australia, on 14 November 1932, aged 40.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p.261 (citing The University of Melbourne: Record of Active Service of Teachers, Graduates, Undergraduates, Officers and Servants (1926); Pegasus; National Archives).
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