Corporal Allan Ernest Matthews

Service number VX5175
Birth Date 1920-11-09
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Geelong
Death Date c. 1989
Place Geelong
Conflict/Operation Second World War, 1939-1945

Corporal Allan Ernest Matthews was born in Geelong, Victoria, in November 1920. Matthews enlisted at the beginning of the Second World War, on 18 November 1939, and was an original member of B Company, 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion. He took part in the first military operation of the Western Desert Campaign, the Battle of Bardia, fought between 3 and 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. He discharged from the army on 8 August 1945. Almost forty years later he compiled a memoir of his war time experiences. He described himself anecdotally to family 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’. Like many, Matthews was creative about his birth date: ‘I told my mother I was going to join the army. Of course she said that I was too young and she wouldn’t allow it. I had to get her permission and, by some foul means, I got her to agree. I put my age up a year. I said I was born in 1919 and not 1920. I just felt that that was what I had to do’. Allan Matthews worked on his memoir with his son Chris Matthews, during the early 1980’s, in his home in Warrnambool, Victoria. He died several years later.


Date of birth 09 November 1920
Date of death c. 1989