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Sapper 102869 Royal Engineers, 178 Tunnelling Company
Matthew was born in 1884 to Thomas & Margaret Gotts in Crook & Billy Row, in County Durham. In 1901 and 1911 Matthew is shown as a miner in Crook & Billy Row, firstly as a putter, and then as a hewer. He married Lydia Jackson in 1906 and by 1914 had four children. He must have volunteered around 1915.
The Soldiers’ Effects entry below shows Matthew as Sapper 102869 in the 178th Company of the Royal Engineers. He died 8 Feb 1916 in action. He had over 48 pounds presumably in pay, which was passed on to his widow Lydia. He would have been paid 6 shillings a day as a Tunneller, so this is probably the source of the 48 pounds. However, this is about 40 weeks pay, but why hasn’t he sent more home?
His Soldier’s Will is also available from the Probate Office.
“Everybody damns the Tunneller”
[E Synton, 1918]
This is on this superb website about Tunnelling: https://www.tunnellersmemorial.com/tunnelling-companies/