Richard W MORRIS was born at Newbold in 1894, the son of Richard W Morris (b.c.1862 at Harborough Magna, Warwickshire,) and his wife, Fanny, née Walker, Morris, who had married at St Andrew’s church, Rugby on 7 October 1886, when he was living at 780 Old Station, Rugby, and she was also living in ‘Old Station’.
By 1901, when Richard was 7 years old, the family had moved to live at Newbold and his father was a labourer at a ‘cement works’. By 1911 the family was living at 86 Abbey Street, Rugby. Richard’s father was now a ‘Blacksmith’s Striker’ at the ‘BTH Works’ and Richard was the fourth of six children aged between 13 and 24, who were all living at home – three of his siblings had died before 1911. Richard was a ‘labourer’ and like his father was also at the ‘BTH Works’.
There are no extant military Service Records, only Richard’s Medal Card which shows that he went into the French ‘theatre of war’ on 16 June 1915. He had joined up as No.Z/258, Rifleman R. Morris in the 11th Battalion [Bn.] of the Rifle Brigade. However he doesn’t appear to be under that name or number in the December 1915 to January 1916 Roll Book.
The 11th (Service) Battalion of the Rifle Brigade was formed at Winchester in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of the 59th Brigade in the 20th (Light) Division. They moved to Blackdown, going on in February 1915 to Witley and then in April to Hamilton Camp (Stonehenge). On 21 July 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne which appears to be a month or so after Richard is recorded as having arrived in France – maybe he was initially in another unit.
On 20 November 1917, after having taken part in various actions earlier in the Battle of 3rd Ypres, the 11th Battalion were part of the British Third Army which launched an attack towards Cambrai. The method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, a large number of tanks were used in significant force. However, having started well, with large gains of ground being made, the German reserves brought the advance to a halt. Ten days later, a counter-attack regained much of the ground.
It was probably during this German counter-attack that Richard Morris was killed in action on 30 November 1917. His Medal Card declares that he was ‘Acc[epted] as Dead’ as his body was either never found or never identified. He is remembered with his fellow Riflemen on Panels 10 and 11 of the Cambrai Memorial which is located an elevated terrace in the Louverval Military Cemetery, Louveral, France, 11 kms north of Arras. The monument commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen from Britain and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai and whose graves are not known.
Richard MORRIS was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. He is also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby; on the BTH List of ‘Employees Who Served’; and on the BTH War Memorial.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM
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This article on Richard MORRIS was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, October 2017.
 The List is that published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921.