NATHAN, SIR MATTHEW:
English soldier and administrator; born in London Jan. 3, 1862; son of Jonah Nathan. He joined the Royal Engineers on May 19, 1880, from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, where he received the Pollock medal as the most distinguished cadet of his term, and the sword for exemplary conduct. He was promoted captain in the engineers on May 19, 1886, and major on Oct. 22, 1898. He served in Sierra Leone (1883-84) in connection with its fortification as an imperial coaling-station, and again as commanding the Royal Engineers in 1885-86 and 1886-1887; likewise in Egypt in 1884-85 (Nile expedition), in India in 1887-91, and in the Lushai expedition of 1889, for which he received a medal with clasp. He acted as secretary to the Colonial Defense Committee from May 11, 1895, and was created a companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (Jan. 2, 1899) for services in this capacity. In March, 1899, Major Nathan was appointed by Queen Victoria to administer temporarily the government of Sierra Leone. In Oct., 1900, he was appointed by the queen, governor of the Gold Coast in succession to Sir F. M. Hodgsom. This was the first appointment of a Jew to a distant English colonial governorship. He was appointed governor of Hongkong in 1904.
Major Nathan has been a member of the council and of the executive and building committees of the Anglo-Jewish Association.
One of Nathan's brothers is Major F. L. Nathan, R.A., who was appointed in 1900 superintendent of the Royal Gunpowder Factory, Waltham Abbey. Another brother, Sir Nathaniel Nathan, is a colonial judge at Trinidad, West Indies. He was knighted in 1903.
- Jew. Chron. March 10, 1899, and Oct. 26, 1900.