Private James Mather MM
R8050 3rd Company King’s Royal Rifles
125209 Machine Gun Corps

James Mather was born in 1889 at Sutton-in-Ashfield, son of Edwin Godber Mather, a blacksmith born Riddings and his wife Mary (nee Ward), born Pilsley, Derbyshire. In 1901 the family was living at Newlands Road, Riddings but by 1911 had moved to Pye Hill, Jacksdale where James, aged 22 years, was shown as a labourer at the colliery on the Census. James was one of 7 children of whom 3 had survived. His brother Frederick, had died in 1905 aged 13 and brother George Edwin had died in 1906 aged 18. Brother Robert born 1885 and brother Harry born 1898, as well as James had all survived. His brother Harry had followed in their father’s footsteps, employed as a blacksmith and is listed in the 1925 Kelly’s Directory for Jacksdale. The blacksmith’s shop was situated on Pye Hill Road near the present day Knightsbridge Garage.

James volunteered for service, enlisting at Nottingham with the King’s Royal Rifles on 7th December 1914. He was aged 25 years and 11 months and 5′ 5″ tall. He had a scar on his chin, a crushed left ring finger and a tattoo depicting crossed flags on his left forearm. He gave his address as Pye Hill, Jacksdale and next of kin as his father  Edwin Mather.  After only 16 days James was discharged from the Rifles, he was found to have defective vision which had existed prior to his enlistment. He was discharge under King’s Regulation 392 iii (c) ‘ Not likely to become an efficient soldier. A recruit who within three months of enlistment was considered unfit for service.’

James was evidently determined to serve, or perhaps his eye defect improved and he was later conscripted. In 1916 the Machine Gun Corps was formed and whilst serving with them, James was awarded an MM – Military Medal “for bravery in battle on land“.  His is listed on the 1918/1919 Absent Voters Roll, as absent from Pye Hill Road and serving with the MGC.  James is the most highly decorated Private on the Jacksdale War Memorial, not a bad result for a servicemen deemed to be unlikely to be an efficient soldier.  He was also a recipient of the British War and Victory Medals.

It is possible that James married Clara Thorpe in Nottingham in 1925.

Photo: Harry Mather, back row, brother of James Mather at Ironville & Codnor Park School 1909.

Mather Harry bro of Jas500