William Hubert Morris, Military Medal
1882 - 1969
During the photographic survey of the churchyard, near the path approaching the vestry door, we came across the grave of William Hubert Morris and his second wife Mabel.
It was a lucky coincidence that the next day we met William's grand-daughter Odette Moss in the churchyard, tending the memorial to her parents Jim and Phyllis Willis, and she and her son Paul very kindly agreed to share the story of their family's association with Guarlford and Revd Newson.
William Hubert Morris was born at Ludlow on 22 Aug 1882 in poor circumstances. In 1885 his mother Agnes married wood-sawyer Thomas Kennett and William is recorded in the census under the surname Kennet, living in Tenbury until 1901. He joined the Army in 1902, Royal Field Artillery, and served as a Gunner until 1910.
During his army service, in 1906, he married Emma Tuck from Newport and had two children Phyllis Emmie Morris (later Willis) and Katherina Isabella Morris (later Slater).
From 1910 - 1914 he lived in Tenbury and worked as a gardener.
He was called up at the start of WW1 and served through the entire war in both France and Italy; he must have been one of the few to survive the entire duration. Due to his previous experience he was quickly promoted and left the service from the Cologne Garrison in 1920 as Battery Sergeant Major.
The photo below shows Sergeant William Morris, centre right of picture, kneeling, with other soldiers (click to enlarge).
80th RFA, 'somewhere in France'
William Hubert Morris was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in October 1917.
From 1920 to 1925 he worked for Gerald Radcliffe at Dripshill House.
In 1925 Gerald Radcliffe left the Guarlford area and relocated to a farm at Mau Summit in Kenya, East Africa, taking William Morris with him as Farm Manager. William resided in Kenya working for Gerald and then his son, with brief periods in the UK, until 1952. In 1946 William married, second, Mabel Every or Fisher and from 1952 onwards they lived near Guarlford.
William's daughter Phyllis Emmie Morris was married at St Mary Guarlford in 1930 by the Rector, Rev Newson, to Jim Willis who was the nephew of Elizabeth Willis, the housekeeper at Guarlford Rectory from 1913 until her death in 1942.
His daughter Katherina married at Worcester in 1931, William Albert Slater.
William Hubert Morris, farm manager, Military Medal, died at Guarlford on 12th May 1969 aged 87 years and is buried in the churchyard with his second wife Mabel who had died in 1961.
The family say William's first wife Emma is buried in the churchyard at Rushwick.