MATHESON, Roderick Ewen 9/311
Known as Bluey, and brother of Duncan James Matheson (53224). Born in 1895 at Riverton, the son of Ewen (Hugh) Matheson and Louisa Hardman. He joined up early and served as a lance corporal in the Otago Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli. The book Travis VC by James Glasson records that when Dick Travis, W H Mackay and Bluey Matheson went out on patrol together one night they were possibly the first New Zealanders to use Mills bombs (hand grenades) in combat. The book By ‘Chance’ to Victoria records that Bluey was among the last soldiers to hold the line during the evacuation of Gallipoli.
Bluey returned to Southland and worked at Te Anau and on Stewart Island. He had a bach at Te Anau and worked in gangs harvesting fescue (grass seed), and in the off season made fenceposts. He didn’t marry, and died in 1967 and is buried in the RSA section of the Otautau cemetery.
Source: By ‘Chance’ to Victoria: John and Elizabeth Matheson, Christopher and Ann McRae and their descendants, 1800–2001, by Mary Webb.
3 thoughts on “MATHESON, Roderick Ewen 9/311”
By using ‘Te Puna search’ on the National Library site I can see that ‘By Chance to Victoria’ is in the National Library, Alexander Turnbull Library, and the libraries in Hastings, Napier, Whangarei, Gore and Invercargill, and the Hocken Collection at the University of Otago. Are you able to visit any of these?
How can I get to see the book ‘By Chance to Victoria’ by Mary Webb? My grandfather was married in the ‘house of Ewen Matheson’ in Southland, New Zealand in 1864. I think that he must have been a relative. His name was William James Moffitt and he married Dinah Radford. Thank you.
Our Bluey (says my husband) carried Roy Traill on his back down the beach during the Gallipoli evacuation. On returning to Te Anau, he would receive annual tickets to Stewart Island, where he was feted by the Traill family. My husband knew Bluey well, and remembers the time he ‘crashed’ in his hut after a pub visit. The next day, Blue asked “What have we got to eat?” Les produced a tin of sardines. Turns out, it was Christmas Day, and Bluey ribbed him for years about giving him a tin of sardines for Christmas dinner. I’d like verification of the Gallipoli story if anyone can dig into the army records (if indeed such details were recorded). It is believed that Bluey did not achieve commendation or decoration in the army as he spoke his mind about army practice to superiors.