The Fallen of Ewhurst and Ellen's Green, Surrey  
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  Thomas Charles Mathew 

Corporal 44638 (1)

20th (Service) Battalion (Wearside), Durham Light Infantry
Died of Wounds 24/03/1918, aged 31


Buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, the Somme, France (X. E. 8)(2)

 Remembered on :
Ewhurst War Memorial,  Memorial Plaque and Book of Remembrance




THOMAS CHARLES MATHEW was born in Ewhurst in 1886, the son of Thomas (senior) and Eleanor Mathew of Malquoits Farm Cottage, Ewhurst. In 1901, aged 14, his given occupation was that of 'under cowman' and he lived with his younger sisters Mildred Ann (b1889) and May (b1900), and brother Private Sydney Herbert (b1891), who served with the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment and survived the war (believed have served with service number 5565, later becoming Pte 202282). By 1911 Thomas was working as an under gardener at Castle Hill Gardens, Rotherfield, Sussex.

Thomas served initially as a Corporal in the Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment (service number 44176) before transferring to the Labour Corps (Corporal 72621) and finally the 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (Corporal 44638).

The 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry was serving with the 123rd Brigade of the 41st Division until 17th March 1918, when they transferred to the division's 124th Brigade. In 1917 the 41st Division had served in Italy as on of the five British division's that were sent as a support to the Italian forces following their defeat at the Battle of Caporetto, arriving back in France in early March of 1918.

On the 21st March 1918 the Germans launched their Spring Offensive against the British front line. During the subsequent action Corporal Thomas Charles Mathew was wounded, and died of his wounds on 24th March 1918 at Dernancourt, to the south of Albert, on the Somme battlefield. It is likely that he died at the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, which arrived in Dernancourt in March 1918. Dernancourt was evacuated on 26th March 1918 ahead of the German advance of the 1918 Spring Offensive. The village remained in German hands until it was recaptured on 9th August 1918.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for Thomas notes that his parents were "Thomas and E. M. Mathew, of 113, Nutley Lane, Reigate, Surrey". The fact that they had moved away from Ewhurst after the war possibly explains why the entry for Thomas in the Ewhurst Book of Remembrance, "died in Ewhurst in 1919 as a result of wounds" is so incorrect.

Thomas was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.



Follow this Link to details about First World War Medals


(1) Noted as Corporal on Medal Record Cards, Private on CWGC Register and Soldiers Died in the Great War.
(2) Incorrectly noted as "died in Ewhurst in 1919 as a result of wounds" in the Ewhurst Book of Remembrance.


Other sources:

  • Book of Remembrance

  • Soldiers Died in the Great War

  • 1901 Census

  • Personal Medal Card (Public Records Office)



Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey