Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ray Arthur Matthews

My brother, Lawrence Matthews, sent me this information regarding my Uncle Ray Matthews:

Pilot Officer Ray Arthur Matthews (RCAF Special Reserve) was killed in action on active duty on May 28, 1943 over Tripoli, Capital of Libya. He is buried in Lot 6, Grave 3 at the British Cemetary in Castel Benito, 15 miles due south of Tripoli. Memorial service was held at St. James Church in Lake Beauport.

Grandad wrote the following on June 5th, 1943:

One night alone, he flew away
To meet the enemy, come what may.
Far across the desert sand
Flying and fighting, life in hand.
Thoughts of home and love ones dear
His only comfort at night to cheer
A lonely vigil through star lit sky
His thoughts of home and his last "Good-by".
Suddenly from out of dawn
No friendly hand of danger to warn,
A shattering blast of gun shot fire
A few days later, a brief cold wire.
"KILLED IN ACTION, the sad news said"
"Your brave son reported DEAD".
Anguish mingled with joyful tears.
A Heros end he had no fears.
So passed into that glorious sphere
Our brave boy, we love so dear.
God bless you son. God speed your way
Happy United we shall meet some day.
                       - Arthur H. Matthews

Ray was also a member of the Late Arrivals Club. As a Flight Sergeant assigned to RAF 260 Squadron he engaged in what he wrote was a "stuka party" and was "shot up and down". As near as I can figure he was in a hospital somewhere over the summer, refused the offer to return to Canada and signed up as a test pilot and re-started active duty in September 1942. For quite a few months he was test pilot for a wide variety of different planes. His last entry in the log book was May 21st, 1943, after having been reassigned to a forward base near Castel Benito a week earlier.

Air Marshal H.Edwards sent condolences to the Matthews family informing them of the sad news. Followed by Charles Power, Minister of National Defence for Air, as well as a note from King George at Buckingham Palace, that said "The Queen and I offer you our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow. We pray your country's gratitude for a life so nobly given in its service may bring you some measure of consolation."

His Pilot's Log Book was declassified and sent to the family on March 4th, 1948. Looking at the log book, as near as I can figure he probably just missed being declared an "Ace", where you need 5 confirmed "kills" (downing an enemy plane) and he had 4, plus a number of probables.

But he'll always be an Ace in my book. Uncle Ray seemed like he would have been a great guy, I wish I had met him. Aunt Ruth also said he was a top of his class at Quebec High in academics and an excellent boxer.


  1. That is so cool.

    Grand Dad had talent.

  2. OH

    Vous êtes la fille de Arthur H. Matthews et de Shirley Peddle.
    J'ai connu vos parents ainsi que votre grand père Arthur.
    J'ai passé bien des moments à sa résidence du Lac Beauport.

    On m'a dit que vos parents étaient décédés depuis plusieurs années.

    God bless your family.

  3. Bonjour! Oui, je suis la fille de Arthur H. Matthews et de Shirley Peddle. Merci de commenter. Comment vous appelez-vous?

    I would love to correspond with someone who knew my parents and grandparents. My parents died in 1998.


  4. J'étais bien jeune lorsque j'allais chez votre grand père au Lac Beauport.
    Je suis bien vieux maintenant.

    Mon grand père a connu votre arrière grand père paternel.
    Mon père m'a raconté plusieurs histoires concernant votre arrière grand père.
    Je ne me souviens plus du nom de votre arrière grand père mais je crois me souvenir qu'il est mort autour de 1915.
    out ça est très loin maintenant

    Je m'appelle Arthur Smith

  5. Quel age avez-vous, Arthur? J'ai ciquante-huit. J'aimais beaucoup la maison de mon grand père! Je manque les grandes arbres.

    Je connais rien de mon arrière grand père paternel. Je serais reconnaissant (grateful) pour toute information le concernant. Je ne savais pas qu'il a emigré au Canada. Je pensait que mon grand père a emigré tout seul.

    S'il vous plaît excuser ma grammaire, car je n'ai pas utilisé mon français très bien au cours des 40 dernières années.


  6. Bonjour Janet,

    Je suis né en 1925.
    Je ne sais pas si votre arrière grand père paternel a émigré au Canada en même temps que votre grand père.
    Mon grand père, selon mon père, l'a bien connu alors qu'il vivait en Angleterre.
    J'ai connu votre grand père ainsi que vos oncles et tantes car mes parents avaient un chalet dans la région du Lac Beauport, pas très loin de la maison de votre grand père.
    Cela me fait rappeler, qu'il y a un an environ de cela, un homme est venu me voir et m'a posé bien des questions sur votre grand père ainsi que sur votre oncle Ray. J'ignore comment il a su que je connaissais la famille Matthews. Il semblait en savoir long. Il m'a même parlé de Miss Lacroix. Il a peut-être les réponses aux questions que vous vous posez sur vote famille.

    Best Regards,

  7. Bonjour Janet,

    Je suis né en 1925.
    Vos arrières grands parents ont émigrés en même temps que votre grand père Arthur.
    Mon grand père a connu votre arrière grand père alors qu'il habitait Québec. Votre arrière grand père était fermier en Angleterre.

    Il y a un an, j'ai rencontré un homme qui faisait une recherche sur votre famille.
    Des membres de sa famille avait connu la famille Matthews...le monde est vraiment petit.
    Il a les preuves de ce que je vous écrit.
    Il avait aussi d'autres informations que je ne connais pas.
    Il est venu me voir, pour avoir des informations, mais il en avait plus que moi.


  8. Bonjour,

    Je fais une recherche sérieuse sur votre grand-père.
    Je connais le nom de votre arrière grand-père, l'année et le lieu de son inhumation.

    Si vous voulez de plus amples renseignements, vous n'avez qu'à communiquer avec moi à mon adresse courriel.

    Matin L.

  9. Dear Janet,

    Hello My name is Patricia and we are related. I have been doing the family tree off and on for 30 yrs. Ray Arthur is related to me vea my Grandmother May Anne Mathews. My husband had connections with a fellow who was in Tripoli a few yrs ago and he took pictures of the grave stone and cemetery were Ray is buried. It would be nice to chat/write with you and share what each of us has. I have been wanted to see his face since the first day I found out about him in the early 90's. Thank you for sharing. pattrottier@msn.com

  10. Hello Janet,

    I have also been researching your grandfather, Arthur Henry Matthews. I would very much like to correspond with you to learn more about this interesting man and find out your opinion of his claims. I am trying to collect as much information about him as possible.

    I noticed that someone found one of his old notebooks and posted it online fairly recently. I thought you may be interested:


    I would love to hear from you.

    Best Regards,


    1. I can attest to the fact that the writing is authentic. I would recognize my grandfather's writing anywhere.



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