Matthews, Albert Bruce.

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Matthews, Albert Bruce, born 12-08-1909 in Ottawa, Ontario, His father, Albert Edward Matthews, was a prominent Stockbroker with Liberal connections who became Lieutenant Governer of Ontario in 1937. Bruce Matthews was educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto, later serving as President of its Board of Governors, and at Geneva University. He then joined the family firm. Matthews married Victoria Thorne in 1937

  32941358_123204938677  the couple had one child before the outbreak of war and, after Victoria had visited Matthews in Britain in summer 1940, there were twins in 1941, although Matthews did not see them until October 1945. At first, in 1927, Matthews, was turned down for admission to the Royal Military College of Canada and he was also rejected by the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve due to his colour blindness. Nevertheless, in 1928, he joined the Non Permanent Active Militia, 30th Field Battery, 3rd Field Brigade, Royal Canadian Artillery as a provisional lieutenant, qualifying as a lieutenant later that year. He was promoted to captain in 1933 and started a two year militia staff course. In 1936, Matthews was appointed adjutant in the 7th Toronto Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery and in 1938 he commanded the 15th Field Battery, as a major.  War was declared in September 1939 and Matthews was posted overseas to the UK with. Matthews’ active service started in July 1943, landing in Sicily and directing the naval gunfire of HMS Roberts and later finding artillery locations, while under direct enemy fire, for the assault on Agira during the Sicily Campaign. In September 1943, his Italian mainland campaign began: he was later awarded the DSO. He returned to the UK in January 1944, having been transferred to the II Canadia Corps as CCRA, regarded as the “second most senior job for a gunner in the Canadian Forces” II Corps was activated in Normandy on 11-07-1944 and participated in several actions, Operations Atlantic, Spring, Totalize and Tractable in the Battle of Normandy. Matthews developed the artillery firing plans for each of these operations. Matthews’ coordination of the large-scale artillery support in Normandy and Walcheren showed him to be a highly-skilled gunner. A leader in Canada’s war effort, in Canadian industry and in his community, Major-General Matthew’s achievements were legendary. He served his country and The Royal Regiment with distinction for more than 60 years. In November 1944, Matthews was promoted to Major General and appointed GOC 2nd Canadian Infantry Division , bringing it back to high operational efficiency after its gruelling battles on the Schelde. The Division took part in the Rhineland battles, Operation Veritable and Blockbuster, battles in February and March 1945. The Division advanced from Calcar, through the Hochwald and Xanten to Wesel, narrowly failing to prevent the demolition of the Rhine bridges by the retreating Germans. Once across the Rhine, Matthews’ Division liberated the northern Netherlands and then made a rapid 150-mile move to guard XXX Corps (see About) right flank on the Weser. The Canadians captured Oldenburg and they were approaching Wilhelmshaven when hostilities ceased on May 5. A leader in Canada’s war effort, in Canadian industry and in his community, Major-General Matthew’s achievements were legendary.

Although Matthews had made a great career in the military, he returned to business after the war. Among other things, he became director of the media company Standard Broadcasting and in 1978 he was briefly president of Massey Ferguson, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery. He was also chairman of the Liberal Party of Canada and was once a serious candidate for the office of Governor General of Canada, but was ultimately seen too much as a party man for that position.

Death and burial ground of Matthews, Albert Bruce.


The plaque at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park is unveiled on 16-10-1966 by Major General Albert Bruce Matthews, CBE DSO ED. Ferguson Point is named after A.G. Ferguson, who was an American, and one of the first park commissioners.  He loved Stanley Park so much that when the annual maintenance money was used up, he paid the bills with his own money for the rest of the year until the next year’s amount was available.  And it was reported that some years he paid a large sum!  This wasn’t a big issue because he had purchased prime property on Hastings Street and became very wealthy.  He and his wife had no children so they left some money to their niece, Grace Ceperley, with a suggestion that she create a playground in Stanley Park for the children.  As it happens, she did just that and the whole area (Ceperley Park) around the playground in Stanley Park is named after her.

Albert served his country and The Royal Regiment with distinction for more than 60 years. He died in Toronto on 14-09-1991, age 82 and is buried with his wife Victoria Corse, born Thorne, who died age 64, in November 1979, on the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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