Morris, Anthony George Atwood


The youngest son of Mr and Mrs F A Morris of Pailton House, Rugby, he came to Winchester from Mr Foster’s School at Stubbington. On leaving Winchester he served in the militia of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and was commissioned in December 1907 into the 1st Battalion. He was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1911.

He was serving with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion in Lancaster when war broke out, leaving immediately for the front and very soon became battalion machine gun officer, seeing his first action at the Battle of Armentieres.

He was killed in action on 13th October 1914. His Corps were given the objective of taking the line running between Armentieres and Wytschaete, an area of low ridges which provided good defensive positions for the Germans. In what was the first formal attack made by the British Expeditionary Force, Morris’s battalion had approached the village of Meteren, when the German forces opened fire, sending the British running for cover in a nearby farm. Morris was seen to take his machine gun to cover the right flank of the battalion but was himself machine gunned in the process. According to one source, the guns were positioned in the cover of a “scanty hedge, where he and his team were later found in a tidy row of eight, all dead and their gun out of action.”

Unusually, Morris is buried alone in Meteren Isolated Grave, a mile south-east of Fletre, five hundred yards south-west of Meteren Church. The men of the machine-gun section were all originally buried in Meteren churchyard, but when the other bodies were moved after the war to Meteren Military Cemetery, Morris’s parents wanted to repatriate his body. They took it to Calais, only to find that such repatriation was forbidden. Returning to Meteren, they purchased a two hectare plot of land around the site of his death. Here they built an open-sided brick structure, with a tiled roof, and incorporated a clock from their stable block at home. Under this Morris was buried, and around his grave runs the inscription: In loving memory of Anthony George Atwood Morris Lieut. The King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. Born May 19th 1887, killed in action Oct 13th 1914 at Meteren in the Great War with Germany. Until 1965 the grave was maintained by the family, but in that year Morris’ brother transferred title to the town of Meteren. A local farmer, in return for using the surrounding land, was made responsible for keeping the grave in good order.   A thorough restoration of the grave took place in 1999. Photographs of the grave can be accessed here: http://www.ww1wargraves.co.uk/ww1_cemeteries/memorials_france_m.asp

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Morris
  • Forenames or initials: Anthony George Atwood
  • House: I
  • Years in School: 1900-1903
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
  • Date of Birth: 19th May 1887
  • Date of Death: 13th October 1914
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer B5
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: METEREN CHURCH, FLETRE, FRANCE