Christopher, always called Kit, was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) the elder son of Philip Walter Mathew and his wife Agnes Gwendolen (nee Grant-Cook).

Philip [1884-1974] born in Heavitree, Devon was a doctor. Agnes [1890-1971] was the daughter of Alexander J. Grant-Cook [1860-1912]. Born in Ross-shire, Grant-Cook had spent some time in New York, later going to Ceylon as a Tea Merchant and founding a dynasty of tea planters. [He shot himself on 8 May 1912, whilst travelling on the train from Colombo to Kandy.] Philip and Agnes married in Colombo in 1914.

The family were living at “Cranford”, 2 Arundel Road, Eastbourne in Sussex when Kit was educated at Lancing College where he was in Seconds House from September 1931 to July 1936. He was a member of the Football XI in 1935, and the Tennis Team in 1936 and was a Cadet Officer in the Officer Training Corps. He gained his School Certificate in 1934 and was appointed as a House Captain, Head of House, a Prefect and as Head of School in 1935. Having matriculated in 1936, he spent the summer of 1937 in Ceylon, returning to England in September to resume his studies at Christ Church. On the manifest of the SS “Orford”, sailing home, he described himself as a student and his address at 26 King Street, S.W.1.

On the outbreak of war, he went for training at the Officer Cadet Training Unit at Sandhurst and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 11 May 1940. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 11 November 1941 and transferred from the infantry to the Royal Armoured Corps with the same rank on 28 December 1942 where he was in the Provost Company, Armoured Division. He was later posted to the 51st (Leeds Rifles) Royal Tank Regiment and joined them in the field in Algeria on 27 March 1944.

The 51st Royal Tank Regiment landed at Naples on 18 April 1944, moving inland, in their Churchill tanks, to Lucera near Foggia where they joined the 1st Canadian Division. On 12 May they crossed the River Gari and joined the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade prior to their joint attack on the Adolf Hitler Line.   

At 6am on the morning of 23 May 1944, the battalion (less B Squadron) moved forward behind an artillery barrage with infantry of the Canadian 2nd Brigade following close behind them. The tanks managed to silence all of the enemy machine gun fire but during a fierce engagement, they lost a number of tanks and their crews. At 12.15pm they withdrew to rearm and refuel while the Canadian infantry completed the second phase of the attack without serious further opposition.

The 51st lost 14 tanks and had 30 men killed in the attack with many more being wounded. Kit was among those killed on 25 May.

He is buried at Cassino War Cemetery Plot II Row K Grave 13.

He is commemorated on the war memorial at Lancing College and the Roll of Honour at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

In his obituary in The Times, his parents requested, “Please no letters except from his friends. Ceylon papers please copy.”