Catterick building named after hero soldier

Sgt Jonathan Matthews’ widow, Shona, and daughter, Megan, stand by the plaque after the opening ceremony.

The family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has praised the Infantry Training Centre (ITC), Catterick Garrison, for not letting his memory fade.

In a ceremony to name an annexe to the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess a plaque was unveiled by the widow of Sergeant Jonathan Matthews, who was born in Edinburgh, in memory of the fallen hero who died on July 28, 2008, while on patrol with the Afghan Army near the capital of Helmand province Lashkar Gah.

Mrs Shona Matthews was joined by her daughter, Megan, and Sgt Matthews’ brother David and several other family friends along with senior representatives from his Regiment and Regimental Association.

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Recalling his time as an instructor at the ITC, the Commanding Officer of the 1st Infantry Training Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bell, said: “Being an instructor in the ITC is a really important task.

“He was not only training the next generation of recruits and infantry soldiers but also creating lasting memories in the minds of those young men.

“Sgt Jonathan Matthews was one of those people who created those lasting memories and we are immensely grateful to the family for allowing us to use his name on this plaque.”

Sgt Matthews’ brother David beside the plaque.

The Headquarters School of Infantry Sergeant Major, WO1 Ian Cordiner, said Sgt Matthews, who was a sniper and reconnaissance soldier with The Highlanders The 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, had served on operational tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo before volunteering to join the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment battlegroup for the tour in Afghanistan where he said his enthusiasm was unstoppable.

Sgt Matthews’ brother David, who himself served in the Army for 23 years, said after the ceremony that since combat operations in Afghanistan had ended things had wound down but the unveiling of the plaque showed that the Army had not forgotten its fallen heroes.

“His daughter, Megan, was just a young child when Jonathan was killed aged 36. It is a bit surreal for her today but she understand the importance of this plaque.

“People will walk past and wonder who this man was and investigate who he was and find out that he was an instructor at the ITC who paid the ultimate price while serving his country.

“Ultimately the good thing is that his memory will not be forgotten and the plaque will serve as reminder to all those who follow in his footsteps.”