Edward Matthews (Australian soldier)

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Albert Edward "Ted" Matthews (11 November 1896 – 9 December 1997) was an Australian soldier, and at his death the last living veteran of the Gallipoli landing in 1915.

Early life[edit]

Matthews was born in Leichhardt, an inner city suburb of Sydney, New South Wales. A carpenter by trade,[1] he was only 17 years of age when he enlisted to serve as an infantryman in the First World War. He became a signals officer in the Australian 1st Infantry Brigade.[2]


Matthews took part in the first ANZAC landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 at what is now known as ANZAC Cove. Early in the landing, Matthews was hit in the chest by a shrapnel shard. A thick pocket-book - a present from his mother - saved his life.[1]

After the Battle of Gallipoli, he went on to fight on the Western Front. He was one of the Australian soldiers who were part of remarkable feat of arms achieved at Villers-Bretonneux.[3] He celebrated his 22nd birthday and the cessation of hostilities on 11 November 1918, while he was on a ship in the Indian Ocean on his way home on "ANZAC leave".[4]


Matthews died in his sleep on 9 December 1997 at the age of 101.[2][5] At his death, he was the last living veteran of the Gallipoli landing.[2][6]

Matthews had been inducted to the Australian Living Treasures list in 1997. He made several public statements of the futility of wars. He regarded ANZAC Day as

"... not for old diggers to remember, it's for survivors to warn the young about the dangers of romanticising war."[1][3]

Matthews was given a state funeral in recognition of his war service and his special place in Australian history.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Gallipoli - The Last Survivor". www.historyaustralia.org.au. 17 April 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Last Anzac is dead". www.smh.com.au Sydney Morning Herald. 2002-05-17. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Albert Edward (Ted) Matthews - The Last ANZAC". The Register of War Memorials in New South Wales. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  4. ^ Ashley Elkins, "The worst war in history", The Age, 8 November 2008, Insight, p. 8
  5. ^ "This Month In Australian Military History - Death of Mr Ted Matthews". The Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  6. ^ "No active service but not for lack of trying". Brisbane Times. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 

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