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A local history and genealogy site for Wimpole, a village and parish in South Cambridgeshire
Curated by Steve Odell

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David Matthews
Remembered with Honour
The Wimpole and Arrington War Memorial.
A local history and genealogy page for the Parish of Wimpole.
Badge of The Suffolk Regiment
In memory of
David Matthews
Private 16602. 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Died: Saturday 1st July 1916, aged 24
at the Battle of the Somme, France
[The first day of the Battle of the Somme**]
- Lest We Forget -
** "Of the 750 Cambridgeshire men of the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment who climbed out of their trenches at 7.30 am on that 1st July, no less than 691 were killed or wounded on that awful day...."
"Out of the 110,000 British soldiers approaching through No Man’s Land towards the German trenches, some 60,000 were killed or wounded that day alone - the single heaviest day of casualties in British military history."
Born: c1992 at Orwell, Cambridgeshire.
Parents: William Matthews of Orwell and Ann (Mills) of Haslingfield, who married in 1888.
Baptised: No known baptismal record.
Enlisted: Cambridge (September-November 1914 from regimental number).
Regiment: 11th Suffolk Regiment (known as the 'Cambs/Suffolks' or the 'Cambridge Pals')
Died: Saturday 1st July 1916 (First day of the Battle of the Somme), aged 24.
How died: Killed in Action.
Theatre of War: France and Flanders.
Grave: Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle
1911 Census
Living at Valley Farm, Wimpole in 1901 and 1911. Lived in Cambridge Road, New Orwell in 1891.
William Matthews [3] Head M 52 Horsekeeper
on Farm
Arrington, Cambridgeshire
Ann Matthews (Mills) Wife M 51   Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire
William John Matthews [1][2] Son S 21 Farm Labourer Orwell, Cambridgeshire
David Matthews [2] Son S 19 Farm Labourer Orwell, Cambridgeshire
Walter Charles Matthews [2] Son S 17 Farm Labourer Orwell, Cambridgeshire
[1] Also served: Private William John Matthews (Wimpole), 11th Suffolk Regiment. Prisoner of War.
[2] No known baptismal record.
[3] Baptised Orwell 01 March 1868. Banns read Orwell 22 Jan 1888.
Newspaper Cutting - Friday 2 October 1914 Enthusiastic WW1 Recruiting.
On Monday, 28 September 1914, a recruitment meeting was held at the Assembly Rooms for the parishes of Wimpole and Arrington.
During the meeting. fourteen men from the two parishes gave their word-of-honour to enlist.
Although not named, it is believed that David Matthews was one of those pledging to enlist that night.
Read the full report of the meeting published in the Cambridge Independent Press on the 2nd October 1914.
11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
"The 11th Suffolks, which was a service battalion known as the 'Cambs/Suffolks' or the 'Cambridge Pals'. At the outbreak of the war, men of the County enlisting for Infantry were sent to the Suffolk Regiment Depot at Bury St Edmunds.
"The 11th Suffolks remained at Cambridge until 19th May 1915. It's strength was 47 officers and 1404 other ranks. The Cambs/Suffolks joined 101 Brigade of 34 Division and crossed to France on 7/8 January 1916. It fought in the trenches in 111 Corps Sector (Armentieres) in February 1916 moving down to the Somme in May 1916.
Battle of the Somme - Saturday 1st July 1916
"The plan was for the British forces to attack on a fourteen-mile front after an intense week-long artillery bombardment of the German positions. Over 1.6 million shells were fired, 70 for every one metre of front, the idea being to decimate the German Front Line. Two minutes before zero-hour, 19 mines were exploded under the German lines. Whistles sounded and the troops went over the top at 7.30am. They advanced in lines at a slow, steady pace across No Man's Land towards then German front line."
Objective 9 – La Boisselle and Lochnagar – The Somme
"The 11th Suffolks were assigned Objective 9, an attack on the village of La Boisselle. The village of La Boisselle was of huge strategic importance as it would open up the road to Bapaume.
"Rather than try a head-on attack at the village, the Allies decided to attack either side. As part of this offensive they set off two huge mines, one near the road at the side of the village (18,000 kg) and one at Lochnagar, the biggest mine set off that day (28,000 kg). As the shelling stopped the mines were blown at 7.28am. At 7.30am the soldiers went over the top.
"Three battalions, including the 11th Suffolks, attacked the eastern lip of Lochnagar crater and the east side of 'Sausage Valley'. The Suffolks were in the second line of trenches directly opposite Lochnagar Crater.
"The Suffolks advanced under intense enemy machine gun fire from the rear of La Boisselle village and from two German strong points (known by the allies as 'Sausage Redoubt' and 'Scots Redoubt'). The Suffolk infantry pushed on to the German Lines trying to fight their way into 'Sausage Redoubt', only to be met by flame throwers as they reached the German parapet.
"The remaining Suffolks merged with the 27th Tyneside Irish on their right and managed to attack and seize 'Scots Redoubt', which was a major achievement given the events of the day.
"The casualties at La Boisselle on the 1st July were the highest casualty rate of the day with over 6,380 officers and men either killed or wounded. Of these 2,267 were dead. Eighty-five per cent of the 1927 soldiers who died on this battlefield are 'unknown soldiers' and have no known grave."
This is a much abbreviated version of the William Wayman page on the Lochnagar Crater Foundation website at
Gordon_Dump_Cemetery, France
CWGC Headstone - Private 16602. 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Private 16602. 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Grave IX.Q.2 - Private D Matthews (photograph by Nicky Stockman)
Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle
The great majority of the soldiers buried in this cemetery were killed during July 1916 during the battle for the villages of La Boisselle (captured on the 3rd July) and Ovillers (captured on the 17 July). The cemetery commemorates over 1500 war casualties, although over half are unidentified. It was called variously Gordon (or Gordon's) Dump Cemetery or Sausage Valley Cemetery, from the name given to the broad, shallow valley that runs down from it to Becourt. The remainder of the cemetery was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the 1916 battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery.
Frank Skinner of New Wimpole is also buried in this cemetery.
The Wimpole and Arrington War Memorial
The Wimpole and Arrington War Memorial pictured in 2011
© Photographed by Lorraine and Keith Bowdler
The servicemen and women are listed under the Parishes of Arrington or Wimpole
as shown on the Cambridgeshire County War Memorial in Ely Cathedral.
War Memorial research by Steve Odell.
The War Memorial Project would welcome any additional information, research,
photographs or memories of David Matthews for this page.
Please contact the website.

This page was last updated on: 13 July 2020.

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