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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Carl Mather, Valour Road's forgotten hero.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.


Arguably the most famous group of First World War soldiers from Winnipeg are the "Pine Street Boys." Frederick Hall, Leo Clarke and Robert Shankland, who all lived at one time on the same block of Pine Street, (now Valour Road). All were awarded Victoria Crosses, only Shankland returned alive.

There is another young man from that very same block who made the supreme sacrifice, though he did not earn any awards has been forgotten.


Carl Mather lived at 669 Pine Street with his parents, Thomas and Bertha, uncle Jack and four siblings. His father was a civil servant with the provincial agriculture department at the time.

University of Manitoba 

In October 1915 Carl was entering is third year of studies at the University of Manitoba, he listed "law student" as his occupation on his attestation papers. He instead chose to enlist with the 61st Battalion, which at that time was stationed at Camp Sewell, (now Hughes.) 

Mather wasn't alone. He was one of 1,160 students and 14 faculty and staff from the U of M who enlisted. In the end, 123 never returned, including Mather.

On July 26, 1916 his mother received a telegram stating that her son was "dangerously wounded." He was at the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station when he died on August 2, 1916 at the age of 21. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

The family remained at the home until the late 1930s. The address changed to 669 Valour Road in 1925.

Sources:
Canadian Virtual War Memorial Veterans Affairs Canada

Attestation Papers Soldiers of World War I Library and Archives Canada

University of Manitoba Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918

This soldier's history has been pieced together using a number of sources. If you have additional information or would like to point out a factual error, please do so in the comments below or by email at cassidy-at-mts.net.
© Christian Cassidy 2014

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