Native Hawaiian Veterans: Major Matthew Dewar of the British Army

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Major Matthew James Manuia Dewar was born on August 8, 1890.He was the son of Dr. Matthew Everard Puakahakoililanimanuia Makalua, a Hawaiian who was sent to England for medical studies by King Kalākaua, and Annie Clementina Dewar, an English woman.

Major Matthew James Manuia Dewar married Marjorie Harriet Beaman, daughter of British Surgeon-General Ardern Hulme Beaman in 1915.

He was given the name of Matthew James Manuia Makalua at birth. He was educated at Oratory School, Woodcote, Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England. His father, Dr. Makalua, was the first Native Hawaiian documented to study Western medicine and to be a surgeon. Dr. Makalua originally had planned to return to Hawai’i around 1896 but ended up refusing to return to Hawai’i after “US annexation” as he felt he no longer had a country to return to. Matthew James Manuia Makalua ended up changing his name to Matthew James Manuia Dewar as his mother’s side had no males carrying the last name and to avoid discrimination.

Matthew James Manuia Dewar rose through the ranks of the British army and gained the rank of Major in the Royal Sussex Regiment. He is the first non-royal Native Hawaiian documented to have gained such a high rank. He fought in the First World War, where he was wounded in 1916 while defending a French town from the Germans. He was awarded the French military medal of Croix de Guerre Avec Palmes. For his bravery, he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1919. He fought in the Second World War, with the Royal Engineers and was again given awards. He passed away in 1952. He was one of the most highly decorated Native Hawaiians soldiers.
(pictured above is Dr. Makalua) 

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