28 February 2015

4081 Pte Robert Mather, 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

My thanks to Mike Gregson for contacting me after he noticed his great grandfather - Robert Mather - in the list of PoWs for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment that I published in January this year. Mike had already known that his great grandfather had been a prisoner and has added additional information about him which I am pleased to publish here.

From the Lancashire Fusiliers Enlistment book 1882-1902:
Robert Mather was born in St Mark's, Bolton and was a Piercer by trade when he attested with the Lancashire Fusiliers at Bolton on the 3rd May 1892. He was aged 18 years and one month. He gave his religion as Church of England and his physical description notes that he had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. He was five feet five and three quarter inches in height, had a thirty three inch chest, a scar on forehead, a scar on left eyelid and weighed one hundred and eleven pounds.  After serving his initial period of probably 10 to 12 weeks at the regimental depot he was posted to the 1st Battalion. He was transferred to the Army Reserve on 2rd May 1899 (exactly seven years after he had enlisted) and served with the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers during the Boer War and was invalided on the 13/05/01 (also appears as 4058). He received the Queens South Africa medal with clasps: Orange Free State, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Laing's Nek, South Africa 1901.  
Robert re-enlisted on 12th September 1914, this time with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (4081) and arrived overseas on 29th November 1914. He was captured at Givenchy on 22/23rd December and spent time in Wittenberg and Merseburg PoW camps.
After the war, Robert Mather was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal along with others, for his service in Wittenberg during a Typhoid epidemic when he volunteered as a medical orderly.
The image on this page comes from the Europeana19141918 website and specifically, the page which tells the story of another LNL PoW regular, 2838 L/Cpl John Johnson. Like Robert Mather, Johnson was also a time-expired regular who re-enlisted in the Special Reserve when Britain went to war in August 1914.

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