Death of Captain John Hugh Matheson

6th Gordon Highlander, 24th April 1917

Photograph of Captain John Hugh Matheson taken from De Ruvignys Roll of Honour

From The Banffshire Herald dated 5th May 1917

Intimation came to hand this week of the death of Captain, J. Matheson, Military Cross, Headmaster, Clenterty School, Banff, as having taken place from wounds received on 24th of April (1917). Captain Matheson was a very capable and popular officer. He joined the Gordon Highlanders as a Private at Keith, where he was stationed for some time, and the news of his death will be sincerely mourned by the wide circle of friends which he made here. He was a son of the late Mr James Matheson, Easter Bog of Cullicudden, Resolis, and was educated and trained as a teacher at the parish school there . He was assistant teacher at Larkhall, from there he went to Avoch Public School, and then was appointed headmaster of Clenterty Public School, Gamrie.

He received his commission in May 1915, and has been at the front since October 1915. In November 1916, he gained the Military Cross. In a raid by his company all the other officers were put out of action, and he continued the action and captured a large number of German prisoners. He has been in the thick on the fighting ever since. Captain Matheson was one of four brothers who joined the colours at the outbreak of war. He leaves a widow and family.

The Following is an extract from De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour

Matheson, John Hugh, Military Cross, Captain, 6th (Service) Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders, Fourth son of James Matheson, of Bog of Cullicudden, Resolis, county Ross, Crofter by his wife, Jessie, daughter of Patterson; born Avoch, county Ross, 23rd August 1879; educated Newhall Public School, Resolis; was subsequently headmaster of Clenterty Public School, Gamrie, county of Banff; Enlisted in November 1914; obtained a commission as second lieutenant in April 1915; promoted lieutenant in September 1916, and Captain January 1917; served with the expeditionary force in France and Flanders from 18 October 1915; was wounded at Fampoux, 24 April 1917, and died the following day. Buried at Duisans. His chaplain wrote: “we were all hoping that he would recover, but since this has not been so, I can assure you that your husband played the part of a true British soldier, and leaves behind him an excellent record as a Christian hero,” and a brother officer: “he was a soldier and a man, liked and, what is not always the case, respected by the men of his company, who were proud to serve under him. He was latterly my own Company Commander, so that I can speak from personal experience, and he and I have soldiered together for a long time. We had the same profession; were Privates together in Keith, were officers together, and, finally, I had the pleasure of serving under him. There was no officer in whom the sergeant reposed so much confidence. I have spoken with those who were with him when he was hit, and you can be proud of your husband’s memory, for his men speak of his devotion to his duty.” Captain Matheson was awarded the Military Cross [London Gazette, November 1916], for gallantry in capturing about 30 officers and men. He married at Beaumont Hamel, in November 1916, Mary Jane (May), daughter of Dickson Fraser Fleming, Head Master of Avoch Public School, co. Ross.

Military Cross
(Military Cross, similar to the one awarded to John Matheson)


John Matheson is honoured and remembered on the Gamrie War Memorial, Aberdeenshire.


John Matheson was awarded the 1914-15 Star entry into Theatre of Conflict (France) on 21/10/1915, British War Medal, Victory Medal and the Military Cross.

Links To Additional Information

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – John Matheson

Lives of the First World War – John Matheson


  •  Banffshire Herald dated 5th April 1917
  •  Medal Index Card
  •  Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  •  De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
  •  Lives of the First World War Site
  •  De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
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