This Anzac Day sees a new section on the Clan Matheson New Zealand website about New Zealand Mathesons who served in the Second World War. Telling their stories is a large exercise, made difficult in part because the WW2 service personnel files have not yet been digitised, unlike those from WW1.
To kick this project off I’ve started with those Mathesons and Mathiesons from New Zealand and serving in the New Zealand forces who died overseas during WW2. There are 12 in all, listed on the linked page but with their individual stories told on separate pages.
Their stories are as diverse as that global conflict, and there are twists and turns in their tales. The deaths of some are somewhat mysterious, but we have a fuller account of others.
Why is someone who died in Germany commemorated in Egypt? Out of these 12, two died on the same day in the same place.
I’m grateful to those who have helped with this project, including some with family connections to the deceased. I hope I have done justice to the stories of their kin. Any further information would be welcome.
We know of 80 Mathesons who went overseas from New Zealand to fight in the First World War. They’re listed on our website, and you can now follow links from 25 of the 80 entries to find out more about some individuals.
In passing I’ve written accounts of four Mathesons who served in other countries’ armed forces during that war.
I’ve discovered two more publications about Mathesons in New Zealand, and profiled them on the Clan Matheson website.
By ‘Chance’ to Victoria is, despite the title, more about New Zealand than Australia. It recounts the stories of the families of John and Elizabeth Matheson and Christopher and Ann McRae.
The Paparimu Matheson family tree details the Mathesons who settled at Paparimu and Clevedon (both near Papakura in south Auckland). It contains transcripts and copies of original material dating back to the 1840s.
Publications such as this are invaluable treasuries of family stories and important parts of our history. Have you considered collecting your family stories and weaving them into an account that you can publish, in hard copy and/or online? How about kicking off this Christmas by talking to older relatives, and starting to scan and copy important family documents? Would starting such a project be a good New Year’s resolution?
I’ve added material to the page on the clan website that contains additional information about Mathesons who served in the First World War.
Thanks to one of the publications about New Zealand Mathesons, I’ve been able to tell something of the story of twin brothers Alexander Victor Mathieson and William Alfred Mathieson and their cousin William Harper Mathieson. All three hailed from farming stock in Southland, joined up, and returned safely from the war to go back onto the land.
The Onward Project seeks to locate and publish a photograph of every member of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who served overseas during the First World War of 1914-1918. Each image is captioned with the name and service number of the individual, plus a reference to the source of the photo. Three volumes in the series have been published so far, and photos are being collected for a fourth volume.
This Clan Matheson site contains quite a lot of information on Mathesons who served in the First World War, both overseas and in New Zealand. In a comment on one of the pages Christine Barbour says she’s sent the Onward Project a photo of her grandfather, Roderick Dugald Matheson, who is included in our list here. That’s a great idea, and I’d encourage others to do this too.
If you’re in Auckland on Sunday 24 July, please come along to the annual meeting of the Clan Matheson Society New Zealand branch. Full details here.
I’ve updated the article on the Strathtaieri pipe band, and included a new photo.
If you’re in Auckland do join other clan members for the annual Clan Matheson picnic, on Sunday 28 February starting at 1.30 pm. All the family is welcome; bring some food, picnic chairs and petanque skills.
The picnic will be in Cornwall Park, Auckland. From the Campbell Road entrance take the Grand Drive and look out for the Clan Matheson banner. If the weather is doubtful, ring Donald Matheson on 09 483 9147 for cancellation news.
There’s an interesting historical connection behind the name of Matheson Crescent in Albert Town, near Wanaka. You can read it here.
After Lake Matheson on the West Coast, Mathesons Bay near Leigh north of Auckland may be the best-known Matheson place name in New Zealand. You can read more here about who this attractive bay was named after; hard-working, brave settlers.