Mounted service breeches : Sergeant J R Matthews, 7 Battalion, AIF

Accession Number REL31830.003
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Brass, Cotton, Plastic, Suede, Wool 'bedford cord'
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1914-18
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Pair of custom made mounted service breeches, strapped at the knees with suede. The breeches have a six-button concealed fly. There are three of the original four buttons located around the outside of the waistband for the attachment of braces. Below the knee, the breeches are fastened by two small brown plastic buttons. A slash pocket is located on each side of the fly at the waist. Both pockets are lined with white cotton fabric. There are a few small tears on the inside of each leg of the breeches.

History / Summary

Sergeant James Reginald Matthews had these breeches, along with the tunic, custom made for his wedding in April 1918. Matthews, a salesman from Melbourne, Victoria, enlisted as a private in 7 Battalion on 17 August 1914, aged 24 years. He was assigned the service number 50 and embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT Hororata on 19 October 1914, arriving in Egypt on 2 December. Matthews took part in the second wave of landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and received a bullet wound to the shoulder. He was evacuated to hospital in Heliopolis. On 9 May 1915 he went to a convalescent camp prior to his return to 7 Battalion on 22 June. Matthews was wounded in the back for a second time on 12 August at Lone Pine and was sent to hospital in Malta, aboard HS Regina de Italie. Matthews was admitted to hospital also suffering shock and enteric fever on 2 September 1915. He was then transferred to England and admitted to hospital in Birmingham on 29 October 1915. Matthews was promoted to temporary corporal on 1 November 1916 and sent to France for court martial duty on 7 July 1917. He returned to England and was promoted extra regimental sergeant on 1 September 1917. He then began working for the pay corps. He married an English woman named Caroline on 13 April 1918 (the wedding portrait is held at P04219.001) and they returned to Australia aboard ‘Balmoral Castle’ on 25 February 1919. They arrived in Melbourne on 13 April and Matthews was discharged on 25 May 1919.