Francis Joseph Mattes (MM)
Serial No. 963
1st Battalion & Transport Section
Francis Joseph Mattes (MM) - Information
Francis Joseph Mattes is listed in The Campbelltown Herald as a local boy whom served in the war. Born in Hay, he was living in Granville and working as a linesman when the war commenced. Francis enlisted in the AIF shortly after war was declared, signing up in Randwick on the 28th of August 1914, aged 25. Francis and many other eager volunteers were rushed through their training becoming a Private in the newly formed 1st Battalion, AIF. He then departed Sydney on the 18th of October 1914 onboard the HMAT Afric, believing they were heading for the green fields of France.
However, the 1st Battalion disembarked in Egypt at the beginning of December. After months of drudgery, the infantry was mustered for an amphibious assault on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The 1st Battalion rushed ashore at what was to be known as Anzac Cove, on the 25th of April 1915. The first few months were harrowing, the Allies unable to make any significant gains and the Turks unable to push them back to the sea; resulted in stalemate. Francis then got himself in trouble stealing another soldier’s camera in July. He was awarded a loss pay, and sentenced to 14 days detention in Egypt. In August, he was taken to Maadi where he was transferred to the Transport Section as a Driver. Just before the end of the year, he returned to the 1st Battalion. He was then attached to Division Transport in early March 1916. The infantry then commenced their voyage to France, departing Alexandria. On the Western Front, Francis continued to work with the Transport Section alongside the 1st Battalion, ensuring that equipment and other essentials got to the men at the front. On the 8th of October 1917, he was recommended for the Military Medal, for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. In early October, Francis was completing his duty during the Third Battle of Ypres. He was east of Ypres in charge of a transport wagon, when they were hit by a heavy artillery barrage. His unit suffered many casualties and they had to fix the wagon on several occasions. Francis accomplished his mission, transporting the cargo whilst assisting many wounded troops along the way. On the 30th of October, he was appointed Acting Lance Corporal, and was granted some mush deserved ‘Blighty’ leave. On the 20th of November, Francis was awarded the Military Medal. He remained with the Australian Transport Duty Section until he was sent back to Australia on the 8th of October 1918.