MATHESON, Leslie 76062

Brother of Angus Matheson (44759) and nephew of Colin William Matheson (60157).  Leslie did very well at Auckland Grammar School and went on to gain an MA degree.  After graduation he became a probationer teacher and in 1914 he joined the staff of Auckland Grammar as a teacher of languages.  His career and his wish to further his study of 18th century literature were interrupted by the Great War.

Brother Leslie (left) and Angus (right) Matheson, in London in early 1919

Brother Leslie (left) and Angus (right) Matheson, in London in early 1919

Leslie trained as a soldier with the Auckland Infantry Regiment and left with the 38th Reinforcements, arriving at Sling Camp in England in August 1918.  He was soon transferred to the education department of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and did not see any action.

The education deparment had been established earlier in 1918 as a part of convalescence, to prepare soldiers for re-entering civilian life, and to interest and occupy nearly 60,000 men during demobilisation before they could be repatriated to New Zealand.  Soldiers in the First World War were almost all civilian volunteers or conscripts, rather than professional soldiers, and many had limited education.  Leslie served at different New Zealand bases and convalescent facilities in England, and was steadily promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer 1.  When the war ended in November 1918 Leslie was able to celebrate the Armistice in London, and in mid-1919 used a month’s leave to travel in Europe.

Leslie returned to New Zealand later in 1919 and resumed his teaching career, in Wellington and Hawke’s Bay.  He married and had three sons, and died in 1964.

Sources:
Highland heritage: four Scottish families and their migration stories by Andrew Matheson, 2011.
Army personnel file, Archives New Zealand.
Family photo.