Matthews, Allan Ernest (Corporal, b.1920)

Accession Number MSS2290
Collection type Manuscript
Measurement 1 wallet: 2 cm.
Object type Manuscript
Maker Matthews, Allan Ernest
Matthews, Chris
Place made Australia
Date made 1981; 2009
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection relating to the Second World War service of VX5175 Corporal Allan Ernest Matthews, 2/7 Australian Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945.

Matthews was an original member of B Company, 2/7 Australian Infantry Battalion. He took part in the first battle fought by the Australian Army in the Second World War, the Battle of Bardia (3-5 January 1941). Following, he was in the advance across Libya, and then served in the Greek campaign. He was captured on the island of Crete on 1 June 1941. He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Germany, at Stalag VII-A.

Wallet 1 of 1 – Wallet consists of a memoir of Corporal Allan Ernest Matthews’ war time experiences titled “Memoirs – A.E.W. Matthews.” The memoir comprises eleven chapters covering key moments in Matthews’ experience of war, from the time he enlisted at the beginning of the war to his liberation, and includes chapters on Palestine, Egypt, Bardia, Cyrenaica, Greece, Crete, Salonika, Moosburg, and Hohenfels. The memoir also includes biographical notes for each person Matthews recalls; photographs; and a section interpreting the letters Matthew wrote to his mother while a prisoner of war. The memoir was compiled almost forty years after the war, in the early 1980s, with its genesis on audio tape. The audio recordings, comprising almost 13 hours, were facilitated by Allan’s son Chris, who later transcribed the tapes, presenting them in 2009 as a bound memoir of over 200 pages. When Matthews began recording his memoir, he described himself to Chris as four people: ‘There was himself before the war, the person who was in the army, the one who was in jail and finally the person he became after the war’. The memoir is the amalgam of these lives.