Private Gerald Wilfred MATTHEWS, 12/596

Gerald Wilfred MATTHEWS was born on 3 May 1894 at Kaitaia.  He was the son of Samuel Hayward Ford MATTHEWS and his wife Elizabeth Eleanor (nee SUBRITZKY).  Prior to his enlistment he was employed as a farmer and also worked as a bushman for a time.

He enlisted in the New Zealand Army on 17 August 1914 as a Private in the Auckland Infantry Regiment, having previously served as a Trooper in the Mangonui Mounted Rifles.  At the time of his enlistment he was single, 6 foot tall with a fair complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.

Very little is known about his service on account of his military records being destroyed during the Dardanelles Campaign.  What is known is as follows.  He sailed from New Zealand on 15 October 1914, aboard HMS Transport Number 12 and was at sea for a period of 52 days.  He arrived in Egypt on on 4 December 1914.  Nothing further is known until he was admitted sick to a Field Ambulance Dressing Station at ANZAC Cove on Gallipoli, suffering from Rhumatic Fever on 22 May 1915.  He was then transferred to the Hospital Ship Dunluce Castle and taken to Mudros.  On 13 July 1915 he was discharged from hospital and posted to Base Zeitoun where he was pronounced medically unfit for active service.  On 29 September 1915 he embarked on the Hospital Ship Willochia for the return to New Zealand.  He arrived in New Zealand, probably Dunedin, on 31 October 1915 and remained in hospital in Dunedin until 27 November 1915 when he returned to Kaitaia on sick leave.

He was discharged from the New Zealand Army on 6 May 1916, in consequence of being ‘medically unfit for active service’.  Gerald Wilfred MATTHEWS was awarded the following medals 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.  He died on 14 March 1940.  His family were later awarded the Gallipoli Medallion on his behalf.