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RSPCA Saving Dog in a Quarry


RSPCA Medal for Saving Life, Bronze, Awarded to Mr Cyril C. Matthews, during 1933, for a daring rescue of a dog in a Quarry in Billcaombe. Former Royal Marine of Plymouth.

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Origin: United Kingdom
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RSPCA Medal for Saving Life, Bronze, Awarded to Mr Cyril C. Matthews, during 1933, for a daring rescue of a dog in a Quarry in Billacombe.


Engraved as issued: “Mr Cyril C. Matthews. 1933.”


The award was presented by the Mayor of Plymouth during the Meeting of the Western R.S.P.C.A. during June 1933 at Goodbody’s Cafe in Plymouth, during the annual meeting of the South-west Devon and South East Cornwall Branch of the RSPCA, as announced in the Western Morning News of 24th June 1933:




During the meeting, the Mayor and Mayoress presented Bronze Medals of the society to Messrs William F. Avery and Cyril C. Matthews, of Billacombe, for the rescue of a dog from Colesdown Hill Quarry, Billacombe, on February 27th last.


The Dog was discovered on a ledge about 20 feet down the side of the quarry, which was 60 to 70 feet in depth.
Mr Matthews descended on a rope, and made several attempts to reach the dog. Subsequently Mr Avery was lowered by a rope and succeeded in rescuing the animal.”


Mr Cyril Chichester Matthews, was born in Devon, baptised in Torquay, born on 27th July 1902.


Being slightly too young to have fought in the “Great War”, he signed up with the Royal Marines in 1920.


He was only 13 days past his 18th Birthday, having worked as a Motor Mechanic in Torquay, only 18 years old but he stood at a large 6 Feet tall.


He was posted as a Private in the Royal Marines Artillery with Q Company on 9th August 1920.


He joined E Company embarking for some ship service on 29th June 1921.


Served on the Malaya from 24th June 1922 – 22nd December 1922.


Then HMS Revenge from 23rd December 1922 until 21st September 1923. He then transferred to the Plymouth Division.


After leaving the Royal Marines he got his Driving License and remained around Plymouth, working as a Van Driver living in Buffalo, Colesdown Hill, Billacombe.


In 1931 he got into some legal trouble when he was working as a Driver for the Millbay Laundry Co and told the magistrates he held his license for over 6 years at that point, without complaints. During the dark one evening he almost go into an accident when a nearby farming was moving his cows, but he was acquitted.


During February 1933, he was at his local Quarry in Colesdown Hill when he along with William F. Avery effected the rescue of a dog who had fallen 20 feet down a ledge, with a steep 70 foot drop below them.


Not that long after the award of this medal, he died at the young age of 34, and was buried on 6th April 1938 in Torquay Cemetery, having been in Whitecliffe Hospital in Torquay.