Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Samuel Mather

Samuel Mather :

Samuel Mather : (L to R) 1914-15 Star; Allied Victory Medal

(L to R) 1914-15 Star; Allied Victory Medal

Samuel, or Sam, was born between April and June 1897 in Dukinfield, which was then in Cheshire. He was named after his father and his mother was called Fanny. We believe he was their youngest child. Cordelia, Frank, Eliza and Emma were his siblings. The family had lost 2 other children by 1911. We don't know their names.

Sam grew up at 7 Colliers Court, off Wharf Street in Dukinfield. In 1901 his father worked as a banksman in a coal mine. This means that he worked above ground, supervising the loading and unloading of coal wagons or the cage that carried miners in and out of the pit. By 1911 he had changed careers and now worked as an agent for the Refuge Assurance Company. This firm sold life insurance and pensions. At the time their headquarters was the Refuge Assurance Building on Oxford Street in Manchester, although we don't know if Samuel worked there. In 2013 this is the Palace Hotel. Sam was still at school, but all his siblings worked in the cotton industry.

The First World War broke out in August 1914, and Sam joined the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in mid September. We don't know what job he left in order to do this. The 9th Battalion was a unit of the Territorial Force based in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne. Sam was given the service number 2297.

The original 9th Battalion had been sent overseas to Egypt on the 10th September, so new recruits such as Sam were used to form a second 9th Battalion (2/9th) that trained in Ashton. The 1/9th stayed in Egypt until early May 1915, when they took part in the invasion of Gallipoli. They took heavy casualties over the next 3 months, and needed reinforcements.

Sam was one of the soldiers sent to Gallipoli to bring the 1/9th Battalion up to strength. He arrived on the 22nd August. Although the largest battles of the campaign had already been fought the theatre was still dangerous. Turkish snipers and artillery were constant dangers during the battalion's periods in the front line, and poor hygiene meant that disease was a constant threat even in the rear areas. Towards the end of the year the weather began to get worse, with cold, rain and snow posing a risk to the men's health.

Sam was either wounded or taken ill, most likely during November. Injured or sick men with serious conditions or who were expected to need time to recover were often removed from Gallipoli to hospitals on nearby islands such as Lemnos or Malta. They sailed there aboard hospital ships. Sam was aboard one of these vessels when he died on the 22nd November. He was just 18 years old.

A soldier who died aboard a hospital ship would be buried at sea. This means Sam has no grave. Along with 20884 other men who were never found, his name is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli. Sam's name can be found between Panel 158 and 170. He is also remembered on the Chapel Hill Memorial in Dukinfield.

Sam's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in December 1996. As well as his 1914-15 Star and Allied Victory Medal, Sam was also awarded the British War Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council