Another Crimean veteran has passed to his last rest

30 Jan 1922

Yet another Crimean veteran has passed to his last rest. Ex-Gunner Henry Mattocks, who was interred in Chardstock Churchyard last week, was a nonagenarian, and had resided in the parish for many years since leaving the Royal Artillery on pension. He was accorded a military funeral, a section of Axminster Territorials, Scouts, and a firing party being present. The coffin was covered with a Union Jack. Deceased was in five attacks on Sebastopol before its fall.

So states the Western Times of 17 Feb 1922 about Henry Mattock, my 2nd great-grandfather.

Henry was baptised in the Parish of Trull in the County of Somerset in the Year 1832 by M Dickson, Minister. His father Robert was a Labourer at Pitminster and his mother was Sarah Enno.

Henry, 5 feet 8 1/2 inches with a fair complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair, joined the 12th Brigade Royal Artillery as No. 547 on 24 Jun 1852 and served until 28 Jul 1873.

Henry Mattock  Gunner.jpg

Over his career, the regiment was stationed at St.Helena; Mauritius; New Zealand; Canton; Hong Kong; Colombo (Ceylon); and Cape of Good Hope. 

Henry married Sarah Ann Chilcott, who was a domestic servant at High Street, Taunton, Somerset in the Register Office at Taunton on 10 Jun 1858. They had 7 children between 1866 and 1886. The first two born in Hampshire and the rest in Pembroke Dock, Wales. Henry and family are living in Pembroke Dock from the 1881 Census through the 1901 Census. By 1911 Henry is living in Chardstock where he later died. Sarah had died in 1896 and Henry remarried on 4 Sep 1901 to Mary Collings, a widow born in Alson, Chardstock in 1834.

HenryMattock Couple

Henry and Sarah Mattock

The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette had more to say about Henry in their issue of 10 Feb 1922.

Crimean Veteran’s Death at Chardstock

One of the very few remaining Crimean War veterans has just passed away at Alston, Chardstock, in the person of Mr. Henry Mattock, at the advanced age of 90 years. He was born in the village of Trull, near Taunton, in June, 1831, and, after spending his early years in his native village, enlisted in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, on June 21st, 1852. On the outbreak of war with Russia, in 1854, he proceeded with his regiment to the Crimea, where his battery took part in the bombardment of Sebastopol, which lasted about a year. During this time his battery resisted in a gallant manner no less than six determined attacks by the Russians, and in one attack five out of six of the guns of his battery were put out of action by the enemy. Mr. Mattock and a few survivors fought stubbornly on, and eventually the Russians were repulsed with heavy losses. For their gallantry and devotion to duty, they were all recommended for the Victoria Cross. As all the survivors had stuck to their posts so nobly, however, it was impossible to confer the coveted decoration on any one individual, but their gallantry was placed on record, and ordered to be read out on three successive parades. The deceased often related his hardships and experiences in the Crimea, and stated he more than once awoke in the morning to and found a comrade frozen to death by his side. He well remembered Miss Florence Nightingale, and the efforts of her band of nurses to mitigate the sufferings of the sick and wounded, and always spoke very highly of the “Lady with the Lamp,” as she was called by the soldiers.

Soon after leaving the Crimea the old soldier was ordered with his regiment to India, to tak part in the Indian Mutiny, but the rebellion was suppressed before he landed. He also saw considerable service in Corfu and Ceylon. After serving 21 years and 35 days, he was discharged from the 7th Battery, 12th Brigade, Royal Artillery, on July 28th, 1873, with the Crimean War Medal with clasp for Sebastopol, the Turkish Medal, five good conduct badges and a “Very Good” character.

Deceased was a splendid example of a stalwart, loyal, and patriotic soldier, and only recently expressed the wish that he could be young enough to serve his country once more. His love for the army remained until the end, and he often commented on the great privileges the soldier enjoys now compared with 60 years ago.

After leaving the army Mr. Mattock was employed in H.M . Dockyard, at Pembroke, for 26 years, and for several years was coxswain of a boat’s crew at Milford Haven. During the South African War, when nearly 70 years of age, he again served in the Royal Artillery as a messenger at Pembroke for three years, and afterwards removed to Alston, Chardstock, where he has resided for about 20 years. He had a wonderful constitution, never wore an overcoat, and until a few days before his death had never had a day’s illness in his life. He was always a keen athlete, and when advanced in years won many races for veterans. Like a true soldier, he always expressed a wish to have a military funeral, and to be buried in his military shirt and socks. He leaves a widow, three sons, and four daughters, with whom much sympathy is felt.

Chardstock Church

The funeral took place at Chardstock with military honours last Saturday, amid every token of respect and sympathy, many relatives and parishioners being present. BIshop Jocelyne conducted the service, and the bearer’s and firing party were from the 14th Platoon, D. Company, 4th Devon Regiment, in charge of Corpl. Searle. A detachment of Axminster Boy Scouts, under Mr. Burt, also attended. The unpolished oak coffin was covered with the Union Jack, and surmounted by beautiful wreaths and deceased’s war medals. The breastplate bore the inscription: – “Henry Mattock, died January 30th, 1922, aged 90 years. Rest in Peace.” On Sunday the hymn’ “I heard the voice of Jesus say, come unto Me and rest,” was sung at Chardstock Church in memory of one who has served his country faithfully for half a century. It may truly be said that England will never die as long as she has such loyal sons a the late Mr. Mattock.

Henry Mattock Signature

Henry Mattock Signature from 1911 Census

Henry Mattock Gravestone 1922


Henry Mattock Gravestone

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