In memoriam

Private George Morrison

 

 

George Morrison was born on 5 April 1894 at Camm Macosquin, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the first of four children of carpenter Hugh Morrison and his wife Elizabeth (formerly McAfee). George's father died when he was just four years old, the family from then living on the farm of Elizabeth's brother George McAfee and her mother Eliza.

Morrison enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron at Coleraine between 7 June and 2 August 1915 (No. UD/266). He embarked for France as a reinforcement for the squadron in the second half of 1916 or first half of 1917.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron had joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August 1917, when orders came that the regiment would be dismounted and the men transferred to the infantry. Morrison was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, through Italy. On 5 October they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training.

After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October. Morrison was issued regimental number 41610 and posted to C Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Morrison was one of the many of the 9th Battalion listed as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918, during the German spring offensive. In fact he had been captured, wounded. He died in captivity at Maubeuge.

Morrison's family did not learn of his fate until some time after. The Londonderry Sentinel of 15 June 1918 reported him as 'missing', but his death was reported in a Red Cross list from Germany in August 1918.

He is buried at Hautmont Communal Cemetery, Nord, France, grave I.A.20. The gravestone inscription reads:

41610 PRIVATE
G. MORRISON
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
22ND APRIL 1918 AGE 24

 

Image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org.