Benjamin Matthews

Royal Navy

Personal Details

Born: 1 August 1892 in Whitchurch, Shropshire and baptised on 9 September the same year in St. Alkmund’s Parish Church, Whitchurch.

Family: He was the youngest of three children born to John Matthews, a coachman, and his wife Elizabeth. He married Eva Carver in 1924 in Portsmouth, Hampshire and together they had three children – Jean E, Evelyn E and Norman B.

Residence: At the time of his baptism his family were living in Allport, Whitchurch; by 1901 they had moved to Tiverton, Cheshire. In 1911 Benjamin was living in Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth. In 1939 he lived at 6 Bertie Road, Portsmouth.

Employment: He enlisted as a boy sailor in 1909, serving until at least 1928. In 1939 he was a dockyard labourer.

Died: In 1971 in Portsmouth, aged 78.

Military Details

Regiment: Royal Navy

Rank: Able seaman

Service Number: J3593

Date of Enlistment: 5 February 1909

Date of Discharge: After 27 November 1928

Reason for Discharge: Not known

Medals and Awards

Benjamin was awarded the Campaign Medals (1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal)

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The 1914 Star (also known as 'Pip') was authorised under Special Army Order no. 350 in November 1917 and by an Admiralty Fleet Order in 1918, for award to officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight of 22–23 November 1914. The former date is the day after Britain's declaration of war against the Central Powers, and the closing date marks the end of the First Battle of Ypres.

The 1914–15 Star (also known as 'Pip') was instituted in December 1918 and was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served against the Central European Powers in any theatre of the Great War between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. The period of eligibility was prior to the introduction of the Military Service Act 1916, which instituted conscription in Britain.

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.


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