Second Lieutenant William Harold Morris

Morris WIlliam 96x389x600  Morris William 2 96 367x600
Photographs courtesy of Twitter 'WW1 Family Inscriptions' 

Died on Friday, 23rd November 1917, age 25.
Buried in Grave F. 10. 19. at Coseley (Christ Church) Old Churchyard, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

3rd Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment. Depot Battalion.
Formerly 864 Lincolnshire Regiment.

Son of Mr & Mrs B Morris, Westbourne, Castle Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Brierley Hill, Enlisted: Brierley Hill, 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.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, St. Matthew's, and Dudley Grammar School memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/394996/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Harold Morris registered September quarter 1892 in Stourbridge.

1901 Census
Castle Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Benjamin Morris (31, Chartered Accountant, born Brierley Hill), his wife Ethel Maud (29, born Brierley Hill) and their 2 children: William Harold (8, born Brierley Hill) and Ronald Ernest (10 months, born Brierley Hill).

1911 Census
93 Castle Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Benjamin Morris (41, Chartered Accountant, born Brierley Hill), his wife Ethel Maud (39, born Brierley Hill) and their 2 children: William Harold (18, Bank Clerk, born Brierley Hill) and Ronald Ernest (10, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

William Morris was employed by the United Counties Bank from the time he left school. He was initially employed at the Brierley Hill branch, but at the time of his enlistment he was a Cashier in the Much Wenlock branch. He had had worked for United Counties Bank for 5 years, and had a salary of £42/10/0d (42 pounds and 10 shillings) per annum. United Counties was an amalgamation of a number of West Midlands banks, and was itself taken over by Barclays in 1916.

William followed the same path as fellow Tipton men Harry Callear and Horace Gittins, enlisting with the 10th South Staffs in September 1914, but almost immediately being transferred to the 10th Lincolns (the Grimsby Chums). It is possible that he was a pal of William Key as they had consecutive numers. William Morris came through unscathed on the 1st July at La Boisselle, the day which claimed the lives of his friends Callear and Gittins.

William came back to Cambridge in December 1916 for officer training, and became a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd/5th Lincolns from 29th May 1917.

An extract from the Minutes book from Barclays’ Board of Directors meeting on the 6th December 1917 said:
“The General Manager reported that Mr W.H. Morris, a member of the Staff at Much Wenlock Branch, who was serving with His Majesty’s Forces as a Second Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment has died in the service of his country on the 23rd November last:
And it was resolved that an expression of the Board’s sympathy be conveyed to the relatives of the late Mr. Morris, the news of whose death had been heard with deep regret.”

After William's death his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £70/11/6d (70 pounds, 11 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his father and sole legatee, Benjamin, in December 1918. His War Gratuity was £15/10/0d (15 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. William had enlisted in September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

After Harold was granted his commission in May 1917, he was posted to the 2nd/5th Lincolns in France. Around September 1917 he was taken ill, and was eventually sent back to England. At that stage he was posted to the 3rd (Depot) battalion as an administrative convenience.

After seven weeks in the Second Western General (Military) Hospital, Whitworth Street, Manchester, Harold died after a painful illness. His body was brought back to Tipton, and after a funeral service at St. Matthew's church where he had been a choirboy, he was buried in Christ Church Churchyard, Coseley on 28th November 1917.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald December 1st 1917
On Wednesday, a military funeral was accorded the late Lieutenant W. Harold Morris, eldest son of Mr and Mrs B. Morris, of 'Westbourne', Castle Road, Tipton, who died in a Manchester Military Hospital, aged 25. The deceased on leaving school, entered the service of the Brierley Hill branch of the bank now known as Barclays Ltd, and at the outbreak of war was at the Much Wenlock branch. He joined the colours on September 14th 1914, as a private, being appointed to the 10th Lincolns. He went out to France at the end of 1915, taking part in the big push on the Somme, commencing July 1st of last year, when he had a miraculous escape, most of his friends in the battalion being killed or wounded. Sergeants Gittins and Callear (Ocker Hill men) were both killed on the same day. The deceased young officer was fighting up to December 1916, when he came home to prepare for a commission at Cambridge, which he gained. Early in the spring he was sent out again to France and he was taken ill, and was eventually sent home, and after seven weeks in a Manchester Military Hospital, he died after a painful illness.
The body was brought to Tipton last Wednesday, when it was received by a detachment of officers and men from a Staffordshire Camp. The military band, playing the "Dead March", headed the mournful proceedings to St. Matthew's Church, Dudley Road, where the funeral service took place, conducted by the Rev. D.R. James, Mr A.W. Hartland being at the organ. The deceased was an ex choirboy of the church. The procession was then re-formed, and proceeded to Coseley Parish Church, where the Rev. J.A. Price, M.A., R.D. conducted the service at the grave-side. The buglers played "The Last Post", and the customary three-gun salute was fired over the grave.
The flag at the Council House was at half-mast and there was a large congregation at St. Matthew's, including Councillors W.W. Doughty J.P. (the Chairman), T. Chalstrey, and W.A. Robbins, Mr J.H. Stockdale, Dr H.C. Brown, Mr T.H. Gough, and with the mourners (Mr B. Morris, and youngest son, Ronald E. Morris) were Messrs C. H. Horton (Coseley), J. Austin, R. Westwood, (Tipton), Oliver Brown (Manager, Barclay's Bank, Tipton), G.J. Carder and E. Cookson (Stourbridge).
Floral tributes were received from the parents, brother Ronald, Nursing Sisters and Officer Patients of Wards A4 and A5 of the Whitworth Street Military Hospital, Mr and Mrs T.H. Gough, Mr and Mrs Joe Baylisss, Dr and Mrs H.C. Brown, Miss Taylor and Mr C. Grove (Prince's End); his friend Ray Austin (Second Lieutenant, Tank Corps), Mr and Mrs J. Griffiths and family (Cradley Heath), Mr E. Cookson (Stourbridge) , and Mrs J.H. Gurnhill (Much Wenlock), Mr R. and Miss Westwood, Mr and Mrs G.J. Carder and Dorothy (Stourbridge).

Tipton Herald December 1st 1917
Morris.- On November 23rd at the Second Western General (Military) Hospital, Whitworth Street, Manchester, Second Lieutenant W.H. Morris, 2/5th Lincolns, dearly beloved son of Mr and Mrs B. Morris of 'Westbourne', Castle Road, Tipton. Aged 25.

Tipton Herald 29 December 1917
Private H.T. Lycett, son of Mr. and Mrs Herbert Lycett, of Crown Villa, Ocker Hill, who has recently been paying a visit to his parents, joined the 10th Lincolns at the inception of the war, and is the only survivor of five of his chums who went from Tipton. They include Lieutenant Harold Morris, of Westbourne, Castle Road, Tipton, Sergeant H.O. Callear, and Quartermaster-Sergeant Horace Gittins. Although Private Lycett has taken part in many engagements, up to the present he has escaped any serious injuries and is quite optimistic in respecting the future. To use his own words, he says he fancies he has a sporting chance now. His visit has been much enjoyed by his parents and many friends, as he is highly respected. He is geniality personified.
Editor's note: Private Lycett thankfully survived.