Mathesons who served within New Zealand during the First World War

As well as the 80 Mathesons (including those with similar names) from New Zealand who served overseas during the First World War, some 22 joined the army but did not leave these shores.  Men were still being conscripted well into 1918, and others volunteered as they reached the qualifying age of 20.  Those still in training when the war came to an end in November 1918 were no longer required, and were soon discharged.  There is a sense looking at the personnel files of these men that as the war had ground on, the army was increasingly scraping the barrel in terms of the suitability of conscripts.  Some judged fit when called up were soon shown to be physically unsuitable once they entered training camps.

James Alexander Matheson and his wife Ethel Matheson
James Alexander Matheson and his wife Ethel Matheson

As with those listed in the separate article on New Zealand Mathesons who served overseas, it’s interesting to look at the occupations: almost all were rural or manual.

When the war ended, many in these lists were placed on indefinite leave without pay while their formal discharge from the army was organised.  They were effectively demobilised from this point, and I have used that term for brevity’s sake.

These servicemen are not listed on the Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Cenotaph database, but you can find their personnel files by searching on Archive New Zealand’s database Archway.  I’ve included links to the files.

Andrew Matheson

May 2015

Surname First names Rank last held Serial number Comments
Matheson Angus Private 52718 Farmer.  Ballotted for service 1917 but rejected as being over age (47); one wonders how he was even included.  Born in Scotland; had served for New Zealand in the Boer War.
Matheson Angus John Private 61339 Shepherd.  Called up 1916 but rejected by a medical board, which said “We do not think this man will ever make a soldier”.
Matheson Charles Private 63749 Blacksmith’s stoker.  Went into service 1917 but discharged later that year because of an old ankle injury.
Matheson Cyril Arthur Private 82710 Builder.  Called up 1918 and initially graded as fit for service, but once in camp found to be medically unsuitable.  Discharged July 1918.
Matheson Donald Robert Private 86088 Clerk.  Volunteered in August 1918, and discharged November 1918.
Matheson Duncan Trooper 76826 Warehouseman.  Volunteered May 1917.  Only marginally fit, and discharged on Armistice Day.
Matheson Duncan Lance Corporal 47348 Shepherd.  Called up 1916 and found to be marginally fit.  Served in New Zealand in the military police, and discharged September 1918.
Matheson George David Trooper 72183 Farmer.  Entered army February 1918 and discharged at end of war.
Matheson James Rifleman 26/980 Farmer.  Volunteered 1915 but found to be medically unsuitable.
Matheson James Alexander Regimental Sergeant Major 3/2266 Theatrical agent.  Called up late 1915 and served in Dental Corps.  Discharged February 1919.  Read more about James Alexander Matheson here.
Matheson James Percy Private 88977 Farm hand.  Joined up September 1918 and discharged November 1918.
Matheson Mads Robert Gordon Corporal 92538 Bank manager.  Joined up October 1918 and demobilised the following month.  (The name Mads is the Norwegian form of Matthew; he was born in New Zealand but his father was from Norway and his mother from Scotland).
Matheson Samuel none N/N Carter.  Unfit for overseas service because of a history of tuberculosis, but enrolled in reserves (while his address was given as a patient in the sanatorium!).
Matheson Thomas Private 30714 Farmer.  Joined up voluntarily August 1916.  Eyesight inadequate for active service, so joined the Army Service Corps.  Discharged January 1919.  Next of kin father in Scotland.
Surname First names Rank last held Serial number Comments
Mathieson Alexander Private 17796 Farm manager.  Volunteered.  Judged fit on enlistment April 1916 but discharged three months later as medically unfit for service.
Mathieson David Private 89474 Carrier.  Joined up September 1918 but discharged the following month.
Mathieson James Private 86121 Labourer.  Joined August 1918 and discharged November 1918.
Mathieson John Law Private 90115 Farmer.  Joined September 1918 and discharged November 1918.
Mathieson Richard James Claud Private 85542 Labourer.  Joined July 1918 and discharged November 1918.
Mathieson Robert Brunton Private 76668 Farmer.  Joined March 1918 and discharged September 1918.
Mathieson William Edward Gunner 10624 Blacksmith.  Joined January 1916.  A sprained ankle during training rendered him unfit for overseas service, and he was discharged in July 1916.
Mathieson William Edward Sergeant 57799 Professional soldier.  Volunteered for overseas service at least twice but rejected as unfit, and discharged as no longer physically fit June 1917.

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