Poppy Michael Ambrose MORRIS (1883–1915) Poppy

Michael Ambrose Morris was born at Stoke Fleming in Devonshire in 1883, the son of the Revd Charles Morris (born in Sarisbury, Hampshire in 1844) and Penelope Dunn (born at Houghton-le-Spring, Durham and baptised there on 7 October 1853).

Michael’s parents were married in the Hastings registration district in the fourth quarter of 1880 and had seven children:

  • Charles Edward Morris (born in Blackwater, Hampshire in c.1881, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Michael Ambrose Morris (born in Stoke Fleming, Devon in 1883 (registered in second quarter in Kingsbridge registration district)
  • Henry Rowland Morris (born in Strete, Devon, registered in first quarter of 1885)
  • Penelope Mary Morris (born in Strete, Devon, registered in first quarter of 1887)
  • Henrietta Dorothy Morris (born in Marston, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 1 November 1889)
  • Milicent Helen Morris (born in Marston, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 1 November 1890)
  • George Philip Morris (born in Marston, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 1 May 1892)

Michael’s father, Charles Morris, had been an undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He gained his B.A. in 1867 and was the Vicar of Stoke Easton in Gloucestershire from 1875 to 1879. At the time of the 1881 census, when he was lodging with his new wife at 17 Church Road, Hastings, he described himself as the “Curate of Holy Trinity” (presumably the church of that name at Blackwater, Hampshire, where their first child was born). Then from 1882 to 1888 he was Vicar of Strete near Dartmouth in Devon, where Michael was born.

From 1888 Michael’s father Charles Morris was Vicar of St Nicholas's Church, Old Marston, near Oxford.

At the time of the 1891 census Michael (8) was living in the vicarage, which was then next to the School House in Old Marston Village, with his parents and five siblings Charles (9), Henry (6), Penelope (4), Henrietta (1) and Millicent (six months), plus four servants (a nurse, nursemaid, housemaid and cook).

Michael was a pupil at Magdalen College School.

The living of Marston provided no permanent vicarage house at this time, and directories from 1893 show that the family was then living in “Jack Straw’s Castle” (also known as Belle Vue Lodge) in Jack Straw’s Lane.

Michael's father the Revd Charles Morris was still serving as Vicar of Marston and living at Jack Straw's Castle when he died at Barby Lodge in Leamington on 9 July 1899. His effects came to £6,407 14s. 11d., and his executor was the solicitor George Morris, probably his brother.

By the time of the 1901 census Michael’s widowed mother had moved with all her children to Oxford. Michael (17) was then living at 175 Woodstock Road with his mother and six siblings, plus a cook and a housemaid.

From 1902 Michael’s mother’s address was given as 179 Woodstock Road in St Margaret’s parish.

Michael attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and on 21 April 1903 was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Hampshire Regiment.

Michael (27) is hard to find in the 1911 census and is likely to have been abroad with the army. Meanwhile his mother Penelope (56) was living at 179 Woodstock Road with her eldest son Charles (29), who was an Indian Army Captain, and her youngest daughters Henrietta (21) and Milicent (20), plus a housemaid and cook. Henry (26) was an assistant land agent to Norfolk County Council and lodging in Norwich, and George (19) was a boarder at St Edward's School. .

Michael does not appear to be listed anywhere in the census, implying that he might have been abroad, possibly in the army like his brother.

Poppy In the First World War Michael Ambrose Morris served as Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion (attached 13th Battalion) of the Hampshire Regiment and was gazetted temporary Leiutenant on 31 October 1914.. He was killed in action at Gallipoli at the age of 32 on 6 August 1915 and has no known grave. He is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey (Panel 125–134 or 223–226, 228–229, & 328), on a brass plaque in Magdalen College School, on the plaque in St Barnabas Church, on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford, and on a brass plaque on the south wall of the chancel of St Nicholas's Church in Marston. The latter, which is beneath a plaque to his father (the former Vicar of Marston) reads: IN LOVING MEMORY OF/ LIEUT: MICHAEL AMBROSE MORRIS/ HANTS REGT.. SON OF THE ABOVE/ WHO GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY/ ACHI BABA, GALLIPOLI, AUGUST 6TH 1915/ R.I.P. (photograph).

Administration was granted in London to his widowed mother, Penelope Morris, on 30 January 1917. He left £993 13s. 10d.

His brother Henry Rowland Morris also served in the war, enlisting in the Royal Engineers at the age of 30 in 1915. when he was living at Vineys Cottage, Amesbury, Wiltshire.


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Michael’s mother
  • Mrs Penelope Morris remained at 179 Woodstock Road, Oxford until 1921. She died at Eglemere Wood Cottage, Ascot, Berkshire on 19 August 1929 at the age of 75. Her effects came to £1,699 9s. 10d., and her executor was her son Henry.

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