Second Lieutenant Griffith Edward Mathews


Griffith Edward Mathews was born on 2 December 1885 at Glenarm House, Drumcondra, Dublin, one of at least seven children of stationer (later paper mill owner) George Leigh Mathews and his wife Margaret (nee Frazer). His father died when he was eight years old. Educated at Mountjoy School, Dublin, by 1911 he was living at Glenarm with his mother and four siblings and working as an insurance clerk.

Mathews enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 26 October 1914 (No.1333 – later Corps of Hussars No.71340). He embarked for France with F Squadron on 17 November 1915. He was promoted to lance corporal on 23 September 1915 and corporal on 22 February 1917.

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 most of the men transferred to the infantry.

Mathews, however, had applied for a commission in the infantry (on 27 August), with a preference for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He embarked for the UK a month later, reporting for duty at the No.7 Officer Cadet Battalion, Fermoy, on 9 November.

After a period of training Mathews was assessed as having fair education, very fair military knowledge, and good power of command and leadership, with special qualifications in signalling and riding. He had a "retiring disposition. Should do well when he has had more experience in handling men."

Mathews was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 1 May 1918 and posted to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Although initially attached to the 51st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, soon after he embarked for France, where he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, joining it in the field on 4 July. After undertaking short courses at the 5th Division schools of musketry and infantry, it is likely that Mathews saw much action with the battalion in August and September during the Advance to Victory offensive.

On 1 October 1918 near Beaucourt, Mathews fell into a shell-hole, aggravating an old football injury in which he had dislocated his left knee. He was evacuated to England where, on 8 October, he was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital at Edgbaston, Birmingham. By 27 November he was fit again, and was ordered to join the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of his regiment after three weeks' leave.

Mathews was demobilised on 5 March 1919. He relinquished his commission on 1 September 1921.

After the war Mathews returned to his home at Glenarm and his work as an insurance official. On 6 September 1934 he married merchant's daughter Marjorie Robinson at the Church of Ireland Parish Church, Donegal. He died at his home, 107 Seafield Road, Clontarf, Dublin, on 22 October 1960.