Lieutenant Frederick Charles Mateer


Frederick Charles (or Charles Frederick) Mateer was born on 7 April 1884 at Bridge End, Belfast, the last of four children of grocer (later wholesale merchant) Charles Hartwell Bruce Mateer and his wife Annie Maria (nee Robinson). Educated at Belmont School, Belfast, by 1911 he was living with his parents and two sisters at 170 Earlswood Road, Belfast, and working as a lithographic design artist.

In December 1914 Mateer applied for a commission in the Army. It appears that the application was not successful, or at least was taking some time to process, for on 25 January 1915 Mateer enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim (No.1418 – later Corps of Hussars No.71381). He was promoted to lance corporal on 1 June, and paid lance corporal on 23 September. On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron. On 31 March 1917 he was promoted to corporal.

In June 1916 F Squadron joined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and the men transferred to the infantry.

At the end of August 1917, however, Mateer had applied for a commission in the infantry, with a preference for an Irish regiment. He left France for the UK on 24 September, where, after a period of leave, on 9 November he reported for duty at No.7 Officer Cadet Battalion, Fermoy. After a period of training he was assessed as having a fair standard of education, good military knowledge and power of command and leadership, and the special qualification of riding. He was considered "a good type of Cadet."

Mateer was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 27 March 1918 and posted to the Somerset Light Infantry, although initially attached to the 51st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.

On 1 June he married Margaret Frances Browne at Dundela Presbyterian Church, Holywood.

He embarked for France on 17 August, where he was posted to the 12th (West Somerset Yeomanry) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. On 17 September the battalion was east of Templeux-la-Fosse during the Advance to Victory offensive. According to the battalion war diary:

From 1 to 5.30. AM. heavily bombarded by Yellow Cross gas shells and H.E. during very heavy thunder storms and in spite of every precaution and the moving of the troops gas casualties were caused.

Mateer was one of those gassed, but not too seriously, for he was able to rejoin the battalion from hospital three weeks later.

In May 1919 Mateer was attached as a regimental officer to the 15th Ordnance Depot, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, at Rouen. He was promoted to lieutenant on 27 September 1919. He remained in France with the RAOC until 28 August 1920, when he returned to the UK and two days later was demobilised and relinquished his commission.

Mateer died on 12 December 1965 and is buried in the Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast.


Belfast Telegraph, 7 November 1946