In the lead-up to Anzac Day I have updated the article on New Zealand Mathesons who served overseas during the First World War. In an earlier post on this website I reported that one of the ‘Berry Boys’ — unidentified soldiers in photographs found in a former studio in Wellington — was James Alexander Matheson, who was the father of the former Clan Matheson Society genealogist Monica Kidd.
I’ve recently looked at a manuscript Monica had written about her ancestors: Fac et spera: the Mathesons of Fourpenny. Monica’s grandparents George Stafford Matheson and Monica Heaton had seven children: four boys and three girls. All four boys served in the First World War, and of the three who went overseas two died as a result. Neil McLeod Matheson died of wounds in Belgium and is buried in Lijssenthoek cemetery. George Stafford Matheson (junior) returned in 1919 but died that year of TB contracted while in the army. Two other sons survived: James Alexander Matheson, who served in New Zealand, and Donald Murray Matheson, who sailed in the 35th Reinforcements but arrived too late to see action.
It’s family stories like this that bring home the horror of the war and the enormity of the sacrifice that many of our families suffered.