Biography

Birth date: 15 August 1912
Birth place: Australia: South Australia, Adelaide, Stepney
Death date: 02 March 1944
Death place: Borneo
Final rank: Captain
Service number: VX24597 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit: 8 Division Signals

Lionel 'The Duke' Matthews (1912-1944) from Stepney, South Australia, had fought bravely in Malaya, gaining the Military Cross before becoming a prisoner of war. In captivity he was involved in secret underground activities until betrayed, tortured, and executed. During this ordeal he 'steadfastly refused to make admissions to implicate or endanger the lives of his associates'.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Captain
  • Date of Death: 02 March 1944
  • Unit: 8 Division Signals

Second World War POWs and Missing Persons

  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Unit: 8 Division Signals
  • Theatre of war: Malaya

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : George Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : Military Cross

  • Unit: 8 Division Signals
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : George Cross

  • Unit: 8 Division Signals
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection Items

Photograph

059358

STUDIO PORTRAIT OF CAPTAIN (CAPT) LIONEL COLIN MATTHEWS GC MC, 8TH AUSTRALIAN DIVISION SIGNALS. CAPT MATTHEWS WAS PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN ON 21 JANUARY 1942 AND WAS TAKEN POW ON 15 FEBRUARY 1942. CAPT MATTHEWS WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE GEORGE CROSS (GC) FOR GALLANT DISTINGUISHED SERVICES WHILST A...

059358

P02468.317

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...

P02468.317

P02468.721

WA. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX8818 Lance Corporal Edward James Keating, 2/6th Field Park Company, Royal Australian Engineers. 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...

P02468.721

P03863.001

Studio portrait of VX14024 Lieutenant (Lt) Roderick Graham Wells, 8th Division Signals. Wells joined the Army in early 1940 and commenced technical training in the Signals Corps. He was commissioned on 1 November 1940 and posted to 8th Division Signals. In 1941, Lt Wells' unit was posted to...

P03863.001

P02494.021

Jesselton, North Borneo. October 1950. Informal portrait of Halima binte Binting, widow of Matusup bin Gangau, holding their child. Matusup, who was part of a local assistance group, had been executed in Kuching, along with other civilians, for helping the prisoners of war in Sandakan Camp. Halima...

P02494.021

P02494.038

North Borneo. 1950. An informal portrait of Dick Majinal, who, as a member of the local underground group, had been smuggling food, medicines and news to European civilians interned in an old quarantine station at Berhala Island at the entrance to the harbour at Sandakan. Majinal was the first...

P02494.038

Private Record

Heraldry

Norwood District High School enamel badge : L C Matthews

Oval enamelled silver badge with broken brooch clasp at rear. Design features the interlocked initials 'NDHS' in red with silver outline, over a blue scroll carrying the Latin motto 'Audendo et Agendo' (By daring and by doing) in silver, all on a white enamel background.

REL43189

Presentation wallet , City of Hawthorn : Lieutenant L C Matthews, 8 Division Signals

Rectangluar fine black leather folding wallet with gilded brass slide clasp. The front is gold embossed centrally with the coat of arms of the City of Hawthorn and the following:'VX24597 Lieut. L.C. Matthews'. The wallet has three folds. The interior is lined in blue watered silk , with a pocket...

REL43190

Pair of Boy Scouts epaulettes : L C Matthews, Social Worker, Boy Scouts, Pentridge Gaol

Pair of forest green cotton epaulettes bearing the badge and title of the Boy Scouts. Each carries a buttonhole fitting at the top while the reverse is lined in forest green wool and is supplied with a black cotton retaining tape at the base.

REL43191

Presentation pocket Bible and lock of hair : Lieutenant L C Matthews, 8 Division Signals

Pocket version of the Oxford University Press Holy Bible, bound in blue buckram and made with an extension to the rear cover which folds over the front cover and is secured by a metal snap fastener. The front free end paper is inscribed in black ink: 'Presented to our dear son VX24597 Lieut L.C....

REL43192

Category badge : Signaller L C Matthews, Royal Australian Naval Reserve

Ordinary seaman signaller's square black wool category badge with domed top, bearing a pair red embroidered crossed signalling flags.

REL43146

Field pocket watch : Lieutenant L C Matthews, 8 Division Signals

Defence issued nickel plated open faced field pocket watch in the Elgin National Watch Company pattern, although the movement lacks markings or serials. Features a black dial with gold numerals, leaf pattern hour hand and white faced sub-second dial in the six o'clock position. A winder and...

REL43145

Sound

21449 Eric Francis Davis as a Private, 2/15 Field Regiment and prisoner of the Japanese, 1941-45, interviewed by Don Wall

Stories about men in 'B' force at Kuching and Sandakan, Borneo; Curly Kent selling to the Japanese; Colonel Suga's sword; execution and burial of Captain L. Matthews; discrepencies between stories of other survivors; POW signals to supply planes - civilians killed by falling packages; on the road...

S04097

Film

[Hainan Island, China, Sarawak and North Borneo 1946- 1947 and 1951]

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Jackson was Contact Officer (rank at the time was Major) in 3 Australian Prisoner of War Contact and Enquiry Unit and carried out the release and repatriation of POW on Hainan Island and in Borneo where he retraced the Sandakan Ranau marches. His report on the Sandakan...

F03316

The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (VX24597) Captain Lionel Colin Matthews, 8 Division Signals, Second World War

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial every day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story...

PAFU/842.01

Timeline

Date of birth 1912-08-15
Date of death 1944-03-02