Our People - Matthew Livesey
Matthew Livesey in uniform
Image courtesy of Andy Bennison
The Livesey family plot at Brownedge St.Mary's churchyard, Bamber Bridge
Image (C) Charles O'Donnell
14164 Private Matthew Livesey
9th (Service) Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) - 65th Brigade, 22nd Division
Killed in action 1 July 1916
Matthew is buried at Blighty Valley Cemetery, Authuille Wood, Somme, France. Ref: II.D.4.
Bamber Bridge - Brownedge St. Mary's R.C. War Memorial
Lostock Hall - South Ribble Civic WW1 Memorial
Family memorial, Brownedge St. Mary's R.C. Churchyard
1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
If you have a picture or more information about this man, please contact us
From North to South, from East to West
The King's Own give their very best,
Leaving their homes, Forsaking all,
They answer bravely to the call,
For King & Country, round the Flag
They rally grandly, do they lag,
No, the trumpet calls & off they go
To help their brothers,
Postcard home from Matthew Livesey, 1915
Matthew Livesey was born on March 19th 1889 at 2 Charnley Fold, School Lane, Bamber Bridge. Like the rest of his family he was a cotton worker at Orr's Mill. A keen amateur footballer he was a member of Higher Walton Albion's team that won the 1911-12 Preston and District league.
At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, serving in the 7th battalion with men mainly from Barrow in Furness. He was killed on 1st July 1916 as his battalion marched to the Battle of the Somme. After the war, one of comrades visited his family to explain how Matthew had met his death. He was killed in an accident as he stopped by the roadside. The ammunition he was carrying accidentally exploded. He was killed instantly.
In August 1920 his younger sister Lizzie and father John set out to France to try and locate his grave. The War Office were unable to provide information of its location, but this did not deter them. Taking a bunch of flowers and a plastic wreath Lizzie and her father traveled, mostly on foot, from one cemetery to another, desperately searching for Matthew. The journey was in vain and they returned home heartbroken. Lizzie left her bouquet of flowers on an unknown soldier's grave, but she was unable to part with the plastic wreath and took it back home to Lancashire. Lizzie carefully noted the places they had visited, the people she met, the sights they saw and her feelings about Matthew's death in a journal.
In March 1921 Matthew's remains were located. He had been buried where he had fallen. His body was exhumed and was buried at Blighty Valley Cemetery, three miles from the town of Albert. In June 1921 Lizzie returned to France, this time with her father and little sister Hilda, to lay her plastic wreath on her brother's grave.
Lizzie lived to the age of 85, dying in June 1976. She was buried on 1st July, the sixtieth anniversary of the death of her brother.
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Published 5 July 2016
UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 via Ancestry.co.uk / British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 via Ancestry.co.uk / Commonwealth War Graves Commission / Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 via Ancestry.co.uk