GEORGE HENRY MORRIS

Private 39951, 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Killed in Action 6th December 1917 aged 19

Buried Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery, France

Son of Samuel and Elizabeth Morris

Lived 4, Hope Street, Heckmondwike


George was born in Heckmondwike in 1898 the fifth son of Samuel Morris a Coal Miner from Huddersfield and Elizabeth Marsden from Heckmondwike who had married in the Dewsbury area in 1877.  Initially they lived in High Street with her invalid mother whilst Sam worked as a Dyer’s Labourer and Elizabeth as a Woollen Blanket Weaver before they moved to Crossley Lane, Mirfield where Samuel was employed as a Coal Miner.

By 1901 the family had moved to 35, Croft Street, Heckmondwike together with seven of their eight children, Fred (20), Esther H (15), Hartley (13), Sam (7), Elizabeth (4), George H (2) and new born Martha.  Their second son James William, born in 1883, was away serving with the army in India.  The family then moved several times, first in 1911 to Burnley, Lancashire with their married daughter Esther Featherstone, then to Hightown, Liversedge for five years before returning to Heckmondwike.

George Henry Morris enlisted in the 7th Battalion of the Leicester Regiment on 19th March 1917 in Bradford.  He was 19 years of age and employed as a Miner at the Hartshead Moor Colliery.  He was living with his parents at 4, Hope Street, Heckmondwike and attended the Parish Church. His parents must have been very concerned about him as almost three years earlier his brother, James William Morris, had been killed in action on 5th May 1915 after only two weeks at the front; Arthur Berry, a brother in law, died in Egypt in 1915; Harvey Morris, their third son, had been serving in the Army when his hand was badly injured and he was discharged due to the resulting disability.  Their fourth son, Sam, was serving as a Sapper in the Pioneer Battalion serving “somewhere in France”.

After enrolling George Henry trained at Stafford and went to France on the 23rd November 1917.  On the 1st December the 7th Battalion detrained at Tincourt, South of Arras, at 7am and marched North East with stops for meal breaks until they reached  Epehy.  They took over the front line from detachments of the King's Own Liverpool Regiment until 6pm on December 4th when they were relieved.  The following evening they took over some of the trenches previously occupied by the 10th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and until 5pm on the 7th December they supported the 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.  During this action only one O.T. (other ranks) was reported killed.  This may have been George.  His service record no longer survives.  His grave, close to where he fell, was marked with a simple wooden cross.

His mother Elizabeth was named as the sole legatee for his effects.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission later moved his remains to Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery as they consolidated some of the scattered graves in the area, hisgrave reference is 1V.B.12.

Medals: Victory and British War Medal
Commemorated: Heckmondwike Green Park Memorial, Vellum Roll, St James's and St Saviour's Church Memorials; Spenborough Memorial in Cleckheaton Memorial Park.

British Legion - Spenborough War Memorial – George Henry Morris and Arthur Berry.
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