WW1 Croix de Guerre Group to Sergeant Francis B. Matthies
© Hendrik Meersschaert, 1998 - 2017
Compiled from information provided by Bob Hughes.
Francis Matthies was born at Wanganui, New Zealand in 1893. He states in his service records that he had served 4 and a half years with the New Zealand Territorial Force. His trade was Engineer and his next of kin was his mother. He moved to New South Wales sometime before World War One and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces on the 8-4-1915 at Liverpool, Sydney. He was allocated to the 2nd Reinforcements of the 20th Battalion A.I.F. and undertook training in Egypt before proceeding to Gallipoli with his Battalion on the 31-8-1915. He served in all battles and engagements that the battalion took part in and was promoted to Temporary Corporal two months after landing at Gallipoli.
1742 Sergeant Francis Benjaman Matthies
Sgt. Matthies with newly awarded CdG
After the evacuation of the Australian troops from Gallipoli he proceeded to Alexandria with his Battalion where they remained until March 1916. The 20th Battalion proceeded to Marseilles, France and Francis Matthies transferred to the 2nd Division Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on the 18-11-1916. He served with this unit until transferring to the 2nd Division Ammunition Column in August 1917 for a short period of time, transferring back to the 2nd Division Heavy Trench Mortar Battery on the 17-12-1917. During 1918 he served back and forth with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade and the Australian Corps Heavy Trench Mortar Battery and while on leave in England he was admitted to Hospital in December 1918; he had previously spent a number of times in Hospital for Cystitis. On returning to the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade in January 1919 it was announced that he had been awarded a Belgian Croix de Guerre, this was entered in the Commonwealth Gazette on the 23-7-1919 page 1169, his Citation states that he was awarded it, "For conspicuous gallantry by breaking through the German lines after his company had been surrounded and called upon to surrender. After breaking through the lines he regained contact with his Headquarters and returned with reinforcements who routed the enemy and rescued the company."
Sergeant Matthies returned to Australia on board the "SUFFOLK" and was discharged on the 17-8-1919 as medically unfit. Francis married Marion Elizabeth Day in 1919 and they had one son, Ben who was to later serve his country during World War Two. He was a member of the Gallipoli Legion and the totally and permanently incapacitated soldiers association of Australia.
Croix de Guerre certificate
Francis Matthies died on the 19-10-1955 aged 61 after a long illness; his remains were privately interred in the Catholic portion of the Rookwood cemetery, Sydney New South Wales.