Henry Matear  MM likeness

Henry Matear  MM cap badgePrivate Henry Matear MM

2nd Battalion Irish Guards
Service No: 6939

Henry Matear  MM grave





Personal details

Family Information

Son of Mary Matear of 1 South Mains St, Coatbridge. Husband of Mrs Matear of 1 Hospital St, Coatbridge. Father of 4 children. 3 of their children are James born 30/11/1907, Jane Fullerton born 18/08/1908 and Mary Stevenson born 19/12/1911. Brother of Private Samuel Matear of the 1st Battalion Black Watch who Died of Wounds on the 14/10/1915. Another brother Private Robert Matear (308118) of the Army Service Corps enlisted on the 02/02/1916, served in Italy and survived the war. Robert married Elizabeth Crawford Matear and their son James was born on the 18/11/1916. From the 1901 Census - Address - Mid Row, New Monkland - Mary Matear aged 46, Jeanie Matear aged 21, Henry Matear aged 16, John Matear aged 14, Sarah Matear aged 11, Samuel Matear aged 9, Robert Matear aged 7, Maggie Matear aged 4.

Born / Resided

Auchinstarry, Stirling / 1 Hospital St, Coatbridge


Killed in Action on the 27/11/1917 during the Capture of Bourlon Wood (part of the Battle of Cambrai)


Glasgow 1914


Miner in Rosehall Colliery



Buried / Remembered

Cambrai Memorial (Panel 2 and 3), Louverval, France

Cemetery / Memorial Information

On an elevated terrace in Louverval Military Cemetery in Louverval, France, stands the Cambrai Memorial. It commemorates 7,116 servicemen from Britain and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai whose graves are not known. On 20 November 1917, the British Third Army launched an attack towards Cambrai. The method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, a large number of tanks were used in significant force. The memorial holds the names of seven recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Additional Information

The Battalion arrived at Le Havre on the 17/08/1915 and were part of the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. Henry was Killed in Action during the capture of Bourlon Wood, 23rd – 28th November 1917 : further troops were thrown into the Battle, including the Guards Division, which advanced into Fontaine. Once his troops had been driven from the wood, the enemy switched all of his artillery onto it. Battalions in the wood were wiped out. Three companies of the 14th HLI miraculously penetrated to the far side of Bourlon but were cut off and gradually annihilated. And it began to snow. The weary troops settled into the newly-won positions. The British now sat some way ahead of the position of 20th November, being in possession of a salient reaching towards Cambrai, with the left flank facing Bourlon and the right alongside the top of the slope which ran down towards Banteux. This was part of the Cambrai operations, 1917 (Battle of Cambrai), 20th November – 30th December 1917 : A British attack, originally conceived as a very large scale raid, that employed new artillery techniques and massed tanks. Initially very successful with large gains of ground being made, but German reserves brought the advance to a halt. Ten days later, a counter-attack regained much of the ground. Ultimately a disappointing and costly outcome, but Cambrai is now seen by historians as the blueprint for the successful “Hundred Days” offensives of 1918. According to Captain Alexander, Henry died "fighting most gallantly in an attack on a wood". Before the war Henry and his 4 brothers went to the USA via Canada and worked in the coal mines where Henry's brother William died. The 4 remaining brothers returned to Coatbridge with Henry enlisting at the outbreak of the war. A huge thank you to Henry's grandson also Henry (Harry) Matear from Adelaide, South Australia for the information he provided (please read comment below). Henry received his Military Medal for gallantry on the Battlefield. He spent 7 days in hospital with a tonsillitis and was discharged back to duty on the 01/09/1916. He played for Caldervale Cricket Club and was according to the Club Secretary "full of life and energy". Henry's Pension was awarded to Guardian Thomas Hastings of Lefroy House, Coatbridge on the 20/06/1918 with 3 of his children also listed (see photos). See Directory for Henry's brother Samuel's page which includes their brother Robert's 11 Service Records. See photos for Henry's Medal Index Card, his Newspaper clipping, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his listing in the Ireland Casualties WW1, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Cambrai Memorial Panel List, his name on the Cambrai Memorial x 2, Henry's Pension Records x 2 and the Irish Guards Cap Badge.

Henry Matear  MM Medal Index CardHenry Matear  MM newspaper clippingHenry Matear  MM newspaper clippingHenry Matear  MM newspaper clippingHenry Matear  MM remembered at homeHenry Matear  MM remembered at homeHenry Matear  MM remembered at homeHenry Matear  MM remembered at homeHenry Matear  MM additional photoHenry Matear  MM additional photoHenry Matear  MM additional photoHenry Matear  MM additional photo

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I am the Grandson of the Private Henry Matear MM. I appreciate the additional information that your research has found out about my Grandfather. I have found out that prior to his signing up for the War. He went to the U.S.A. through Canada with his four brothers, working as miners. One of his brothers William, was killed there in the Cherry Mine disaster. The three brothers { Henry, Samuel and John] returned to Coatbridge and when the War commenced Henry signed up. Sadly, his wife, without going into details, had all four children put into "The Coatbridge Home for Motherless Children" situated in Bank St, through to Buchanan St, Our family, my Father and one sister understood and knew what she had done, but my Mother, myself and two sisters never knew her, we did not know she was alive, although I have found out two years ago that she was alive into the early sixties. By the way the other two of Henry's four children died in the home at a very young age and were buried in an unmarked grave in the Old Monkland Cemetery. I have managed in the last few years to find this grave and have it recognized by putting up a memorial stone. My Grandfather must have went into his engagements of war with a heavy heart, Sir, I thank you once again for the additional information.
Henry {Harry} Matear, 22 Elmwood Rise Golden Grove, Adelaide,South Australia. 5125, 28/03/2019 12:46AM

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