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Biography

LCol William Harold Victor Matthews, MC w/bar, CD 

 

MATTHEWS, William Harold Victor, Captain - Military Cross - Infantry (Canadian Scottish Regiment attached British Army) - awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 10 July 1943 and confirmed by CARO/3580 dated 2 September 1943, "for gallant and distinguished services in North Africa." Original citation on H.Q.S. 54-27-94-20, Folio 8. His medals are on display in the Canadian Scottish Regiment in Victoria and include: Military Cross and Bar, Serving Brother Order of St. John, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, 1939-1945 War Medal, United Nations Korea Medal, EIIR Coronation Medal, Centennial Medal, Efficiency Medal and the CD (EIIR).

Captain Matthews has shown a splendid example of leadership and courage while he has been with his battalion. In his patrol work at Hunts Gap he was outstanding and in the battle of Bou Arada on the 22 April he was the only officer left in his company. Under extremely heavy fire he collected them together and with the remains of the other companies consolidated his position on the second objective when a counter attack seemed imminent. All the time the enemy shelled his position but he remained calm and collected and set an example to all.

MATTHEWS, William Harold Victor, Captain - Bar to Military Cross - Infantry (Canadian Scottish Regiment) - awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 19 August 1944 and CARO/4819 dated 26 August 1944. Initiated by Lieutenant-Colonel F.N. Cabeldu, Commanding Officer, 1 Canadian Scottish Regiment; approved by 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade on 16 June 1944; endorsed by Major-General R.F.L. Keller, General Officer Commanding, 3 Canadian Division on 21 June 1944 and passed forward on 22 June 1944; supported by Lieutenant-General J.T. Crocker, Commander 1 British Corps on 25 June 1944 and passed forward on 11 July 1944; approved by General H.D.G. Crerar, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, First Canadian Army; approved by Field Marshal B.L. Montgomery, Commander-in-Chief, 21 Army Group.

On 6 June 1944, throughout the assault landing and the advance into the hinterland, Captain Matthews' conduct was an inspiring example to the men of his company. On two occasions when the advance was held up, he led parties of men to clean up centres of resistance, on both occasions under intense machine gun and mortar fire.

On the morning of 8 June 1944, a platoon of the company became pinned down by heavy machine gun fire. With utter disregard to his own safety, Captain Matthews went forward to liaise with Sherman and Honey tanks to procure assistance. Unable to gain the tank commanders attention, he walked around to the front of the firing tanks in full view and under fire of the enemy's guns and pointed out the position to be fired upon.

During the attack on the Royal Winnipeg Rifles position at Putot-en-Basson on 8 June 1944, he was always forward urging and directing until on the final objective he was rendered unconscious by blast.

On regaining consciousness he carried on with his work. His advice, coolness, disregard for personal safety and inspiring leadership saved the situation on many occasions, won praise from all ranks, and were a deciding factor throughout the assault.