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Remembering the Fallen of the Great War – Edwin Morris

Edwin Morris

Sergeant :: 1st Canadian Cavalry

Died of wounds :: 5th October 1916 :: France

The memorial in the churchyard reads:

‘Also of Edwin, his {William Morris} son, who gave his life for his country in France

Oct 5th 1916  Aged 34 years.’

Edwin Morris was born on 30th September 1881 in Welshpool. He was the 12th of 16 children to parents William and Jane Morris. His father William was one of the industrious Morris brothers, two of whom were the Foundry owners J & M Morris.

William was a draper who had a shop in Broad Street (where the Pinewood Cafe is today). He also owned a flannel mill alongside the canal, just off Salop Road.

The large Morris family lived in Severn Villa, on the other side of the canal to the flannel mill. This would have been a substantial house to accommodate the family and their servants. Sadly the house no longer stands and all that remains is a stone wall and evidence of an entrance to the property flanking the canal.

Severn Villa Welshpool

The 1901 census lists 19 year old Edwin as living at Severn Villa, along with his parents and 9 brothers and sisters and working as a mechanical engineer.

Some time after this Edwin emigrated to Canada, possibly settling in Alberta working as a ‘saw-fitter’. Edwin enlists with the 19th Alberta Dragoons, a militia cavalry unit created in 1908 and based in Edmonton.

At the outbreak of war, Canada quickly assembled an Expeditionary Force at the request of Lord Kitchener. The Canadian Expeditionary Force’s hastily prepared training camp was in Valcartier, just outside Quebec City. Edwin officially enlisted with the CEF in Valcartier on 23rd September 1914.

On 1st October 1914, Edwin and the 1st Canadian Cavalry Division embarked on HMTS Arcadian, for the two week voyage to England. They arrived at Plymouth on 15th October. They travelled by train to Salisbury Plain where they trained for 4 months, mostly in deep mud as it was an exceptionally wet winter.

The Division left Salisbury Plain and departed England for France on 12th February 1915. The 1st Canadian Cavalry Division remained in France and Flanders for the duration of the war and took part in most of the major battles in that area.

During the following 18 months, now as a Sergeant, Edwin was probably involved in many battles along the Western Front, culminating in The Battle of the Somme. At the beginning of October, the Division were involved in The Battle of Le Transloy and The Battle of the Ancre Heights. It could have been during this heavy fighting that Edwin became wounded and was taken to a hospital camp at Etaples.

It was here that Edwin died on 5th October 1916, just days after his 35th birthday.

Edwin is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery.

Edwin is remembered on Welshpool’s War Memorial situated outside St. Mary’s Church.

Situated near the south door inside Christ Church is a brass plaque erected by Edwin’s Mother, sisters and brothers in memory of both Edwin and his brother Charles who also died in The Great War a short time later.

Edwin and Charles Morris plaque

A detailed account of Edwin’s story is on display as part of the ‘Remembering the Fallen of the Great War at Christ Church’ exhibition.

Previously published stories of WW1 memorials here at Christ Church can be seen here

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One Comment

  1. Natalie Bass Author

    Comments received on original blog from Edwin’s niece, Mary .
    ‘My family is buried at Christ Church Welshpool, they are the Morris family. Edwin Morris is my uncle. Thank you for remembering him. Mary Morris Peters ‘
    ‘Hi Natalie…my brother and I have not much more information on Edwin just that he is buried at Etaples MilitaryCemetery, Charles Herbert Morris ..was a gunner in the Royal flying corps ..he is remembered with honors at Arras Flying Services Memorial .. His body was never recovered…hope it helps on the papers I have they were both entitled to a victory medal…just a bit of information about the Morris family in South Africa we were a family of 5 children 3 boys and 2 girls there is still 4 of us still living …my father was Richard Morris …born July 9th 1878.registered at Guilsfield parish Welshpool . He died in 1965 4 October ..he was a delightful Welshman and we had a wonderful childhood …my brothers and sister and myself we r in our 70 my eldest brother is 82years … Thank u once again for keeping Edwin and Charles’s memory alive and I am looking forward to the information that u will be sending me …regards Mary Morris Peters ‘

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