31-year-old Old Silhillian, Second Lieutenant Henry Arthur Matthews, Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds on 25th October 1917 from injuries received the previous day. He was born in Gravelly Hill, Birmingham and was the fifth of the nine children (six boys, three girls) of parents Samuel Poole Matthews, an ironmonger, and Clementina (née Lovell) who had married in 1878. One of the children, Ernest Lovell Matthews (1894-1900) died as a child.
Known by his middle name, Henry Arthur Matthews was a boarder at Solihull Grammar School at the time of the 1901 census. Whilst at school he was a fine hockey player, and he continued with the sport after leaving school, playing left-wing and captaining Erdington Hockey Club. He also played for Warwickshire County and the Midland Counties Hockey Association. The family home was at “Yenton”, Amesbury Road, Moseley.
Arthur entered the family ironmongery business, Evans and Matthews Ltd., Bull Street, Birmingham, and was a director at the time war broke out. He attested in 1915 under Lord Derby’s Scheme and entered the Army about 18 months before his death. He was gazetted Second Lieutenant on 10th June 1917.
The only one of his brothers known to have been in the military is Sidney Poole Matthews (1890-1971) who joined the Staffordshire Yeomanry in June 1911, aged 21, but was discharged on 7th August 1914 as medically unfit for further service. His service record shows that he had also previously been in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977