Private 41121 Harry Charles Morris

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 1st August 1917, age unknown.
Commemorated on Panel 34 of Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

1st Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 24th Brigade of 8th Division.
Formerly 32059 1st Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment.

Born: Wolverhampton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/917957/

Genealogical Data

This is probably the genealogy of Harry Charles Morris, but it is not certain. His Army Medal Roll records him as Henry C. Morris, and his Soldier's Effects papers show his next of kin being his father Wilfred. 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' shows Harry as born Wolverhampton, but the Census shows Dudley. No alternative can be found.

1901 Census
3 Oak Terrace, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Wilfred Morris (31, Patern Maker, born Dudley), his wife Maud (23, born Dudley), and their 2 children: Claude (4, born Dudley), and Henry (3, born Dudley).

1911 Census
74 Tividale Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Wilfred James Morris (40, Patern Maker, born Netherton), his wife Maude (33, born Netherton), and 4 of their 5 children: Charles Henry (12, born Netherton), Florence (10, born Tipton), Doris (8, born Tipton), and Ralph (6, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Harry's death his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £0/7/4d (7 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his father Wilfred in November 1917. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was paid to his father Wilfred in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Harry had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

As the Third battle of Ypres began at 3.50am on the 31st July 1917, the 1st Worcesters were in front-line trenches immediately south of the Menin Road at Hooge.

Under a creeping barrage, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies of the 1st Worcesters advanced meeting little opposition. At the German support trench (‘Ignorance Support’) they halted and started to dig in. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies now took the lead, advancing through Chateau Wood and capturing ‘James Trench’.

The objective was a small spur which projects forwards from the Bellewaerde Ridge. Here several concrete block-houses had been smashed by our shells but one was still intact. From that cover, an enemy machine-gun delayed the Worcesters’ advance, which only continued after a brave rush of 500 yards captured this remaining blockhouse.

The Worcesters breasted the slope, crossed the sky line, and dug in at their objective - the forward crest of the spur, facing the Westhoek Ridge. On the left the 2nd Northants took the high ground of the Bellewaerde Ridge, successfully completing the first phase of the attack.

The 2nd East Lancs and the 2nd Lincolns passed through towards the next objective – the village of Westhoek. However, the enemy's gun-fire increased and they were forced to dig in short of their objective, on a line which ran in a shallow semi-circle facing Westhoek.

The following day, 1st August, conditions were miserable. Under pouring rain the 1st Worcesters held the ground they had won, digging in as best they could, while the enemy's fire swept the ridge. Late on the 1st August, the 1st Worcesters were relieved and marched back down the Menin Road.

Casualties had been heavy. On 31st July, 5 officers and 58 men had been killed, and on the 1st August, a further 2 officers and 13 men were killed. On the 1st August, Harry Stephens was killed in action; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Morris HC map 31July1917
Words modified from Captain H.FitzM. Stacke’s ‘The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War’.
Map courtesy of www.worcestershireregiment.com

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald August 10th 1918
In Memoriam
In loving memory of Private Harry Morris, 1st Bn. Worcestershire Regt, who was killed in action in France, August 1st 1917. In silence mourned.