Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number P02468.317
Collection Photograph
Object type Black & white - Film copy negative
Maker Unknown (Photographer)
Place made Australia: Victoria
Date made Unknown


Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of VX24597 Captain Lionel Colin Matthews GC MC, 8th Division Signals, Australian Corps of Signals. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross for gallant and distinguished services whilst a POW at Sandakan between August 1942 and March 1944, and received the Military Cross for outstanding conduct during operations in Malaya. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of B Force. The 1494 POWs that made up B Force, were transported from Changi on 7 July 1942 on board the tramp ship Ubi Maru, arriving in Sandakan Harbour on 18 July 1942. Upon arriving in Sandakan POW camp, Captain Matthews was instrumental in founding and directing an underground intelligence organisation, and arranging for delivery of badly needed medical supplies, food and money for other POWs, as well as a radio link to outside the camp. Captain Matthews, aged 31, was tried by a Japanese military court and executed (beheaded) by the Japanese, at Kuching Gaol, on 2 March 1944. He was originally buried at the rear of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Kuching; he is now buried in the Labuan Cemetery Section J, Row B, Plot 15. He was the son of Edgar Roy Matthews and Anne Elizabeth Matthews and the husband of Myrtle Matthews, of Marryatville, SA.