Sunday, January 25, 2015

Private Joseph Morris identified!

Up until now I have only been able to say that Joseph Morris was the brother of Frank Morris (also on the memorial) that he had pre-war military experience and that he was with Frank on the 1911 census but their mother did not include Joseph on a list of family members on an army form in 1919. This circumstantial evidence led me to say that Frank's brother was a possible ID for the Joseph on the memorial. I had no way of knowing which Joseph Morris he was on the CWGC though.

With the release of the Army Register of Soldier's Effects on Ancestry has come a breakthrough, the entry for Frank Morris's effects shows that some of his money went to his brother, S/13973 Pte Joseph (Morris). Elated at finding this clue I quickly went to the CWGC website and searched for this soldier... he wasn't there. Could it be that Frank's brother had survived and this was an unrelated Morris on the memorial? I just didn't think so, after all the hard work that had gone into identifying Frank I just knew that there had to be something else to find.

Enter the Medal Rolls, also on Ancestry. The Medal Index Cards have been available for some time but the rolls have recently been released and they have the added bonus of giving the previous regiments and regimental numbers for soldiers, and sometimes their enlistment and discharge dates too. So I searched for Joseph Morris S/13973 and got nothing again, until I looked more closely at the results and saw that Pte Joseph Morris S/43185 had a previous regimental number of S/13973, this was the brother of Frank! He served with the Seaforth Highlanders, previously with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Why these Scottish Regiments when his previous service was with The King's (Liverpool Regiment?) who can say, the necessities of war perhaps.

Taking this regimental information back to the CWGC website I found his entry, showing that Private Joseph Morris of 2nd Battalion the Seaforth Highlanders died on 11 April 1917, his name is engraved on Bay 8 of the Arras Memorial.

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