An article written in the 1990s while in Dublin for the Pioneer Magazine.
What Does Wexford and a small town in the
Southwest of Scotland have in Common?
General Sir Charles Massey Mathew, a celebrated War Hero from the First World War. Sir Charles was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1866, educated privately at Portsmouth Grammar School, started his career in the Durham Light Infantry, in 1884.
Major General Sir. Charles Mathew and Kilbirnie War Memorial
The war memorial which is situated at the bottom of Kilbirnie Public Park was unveiled on 13 October 1922. At that time, Major General Sir. Charles , before unveiling the monument gave these few words:-
“I regard the unveiling of this Memorial as a very high honour. These men in whose memory this memorial was erected did their duty with simple fortitude when their country called upon them to do so. By their sacrifice we had been saved from a despotism which aimed at the domination of the world. It was a duty of all who remained to see that these men had not died in vain. At present time it was clear to all that our country was still in peril… The power of this great empire could never be broken if the people were united”.
. He married Janet Muir Knox in 1904. Janet was from Kilbirnie and was the daughter of the highly distinguished Sir James Knox of Place. It was in Place Mansion House that Sir Charles and his wife lived, in Kilbirnie. Their family became very well known in the world of Politics and Law, in fact one of his sons, Mr Robert Mathew was a Member of Parliament for Devon and also a secretary to Harold McMillan. Even today, you will find the Mathew name appearing in “Who’s Who”, amongst the celebrated list of well known people.
The following is an extract taken from a tribute to the General, after his death in 1932.
“The community was stirred to its depths when the news of the death of the galient officer began to be circulated. At the funeral, there was a stirring of great sorrow at the loss which Lady Mathew and her two sons had sustained. The General had retired from active service in 1924, though he was Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army ordnance Corps, the funeral was not a full military one.. Many Military were in attendance with representatives from all of the Corps which the General was involved with”.
Lady Mathew died in 1956.
He abandoned regimental work in 1890 when he took service in the Ordnance Store Dept. In 1904 he went to the war Office as Deputy Assistant Director of equipment and Ordnance Stores and two years later became Assistant director. He spent much of his time on Sudan and South Africa
Service List of Major General Sir.Mathew is as follows:-
Action at Giniss 1886 (medal, Bronze Star)
Action at Hafir 1896 (despatches, medal and clasp)
Nile expedition 1898
Battle of Khartoum 1898 (despatches, medal and clasp and DSO)
South African War 1899-1901 (medal three clasps)
European War 1914-1917 (despatches, eight times promoted Major-General, KCMG,