Remembering Charles Adams Matters (1885-1915)

With ANZAC Day approaching we start to remind ourselves of those men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices for the safety and wellbeing of all Australians. One of those people who paid the ultimate price in World War I was a younger brother of Muriel Matters named Charles Adams Matters.

Charles was born in Port Augusta on 28 October 1885 to John Leonard Matters and Emma Alma Matters (née Warburton). The third youngest of ten children, he had two brothers who also enrolled in the armed forces (Keith Wylie Matters and Leonard Warbuton Matters). If you are interested you can learn more about Keith’s war service here and Leonard’s here.

Charles enlisted to fight in World War I on 4 September 1914 at Blackboy Hill in Western Australia, a military training camp for the A.I.F. at the time. He departed for overseas service from Melbourne on 17 April 1915 aboard the S.S. Hororata and arrived at Gallipoli Peninsula as part of the Allied campaign around 25 June 1915. He was killed in action soon afterwards on the afternoon of 7 August 1915 near Lone Pine. Witnesses indicate that Charles died instantly after being shot in the head while charging a German Officer’s trench near a part of the battlefield called Johnston’s Jolly. His body was not able to be recovered from the field.

At the time of death Charles Adams Matters (service number 2002a) was ranked as a Colour Sergeant within the 5th Reinforcements, 6th Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Australian Division of the A.I.F. He was given the following medals for his service: 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal. His next-of-kin, like other British soldiers killed in WWI, was also issued the WWI Memorial Plaque ( sometimes known as the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’). He is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial in Turkey and on panel 47 of the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour. His records can be located in the National Archives of Australia (NAA: B2455, Matters Charles Adams) and his Virtual War Memorial entry can be found here.

Left: A photograph of Charles Adams Matters. Middle: Replicas of the medals Charles was awarded for his service (1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal). Right: The ‘Dead Man’s Penny’. Please note that the medals pictured were not those issued to Charles himself.
Frances Bedford MP, the Secretary of The MMS, at Charles Matters’ inscription at the Memorial to the Missing at Lone Pine, 2015.
Muriel Matters’ correspondence with the British Red Cross thanking them for investigating the death of her brother Charles.