MORRIS, Walter John and Francis

Walter and Francis were the sons of Frederick and Catherine Morris of Inverell. Walter John Morris was born in England in 1890 and, at the age of two, came to Australia with his parents. When he enlisted at Inverell he was a twenty five year old single man, working as a Farmer.  He was one of nineteen men who left Inverell to go into camp at the end of March 1916.

Walter became a member of the 36th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement and in August sailed from Australia for England on HMAT A68 Anchises. After a month in England Walter’s Battalion was sent to France in November 1916 as part of the third Division. Just a few weeks later he was returned to England and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital for treatment of a septic foot.  Walter went back to France in April 1917 and was Killed in Action in June during the Battle of Messines.  He was buried at Toronto Avenue Cemetery, Warneton, Belgium. His personal effects were returned to his Father and inlcuded, discs, badges, wallet and silk cigarette cards.

Francis Otway Morris was born at Inverell in 1894. At the age of twenty two he enlisted at Inverell in August 1916, having served five years with the Militia.  Francis was one of a group of twenty four recruits publicly farewelled at Inverell Town Hall.  He joined the 54th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement which sailed from Australia on HMAT A29 Suevic on 11 November 1916.  After arriving in England at the end of January 1917, further training took place until he was sent to France in April.  Francis was severely wounded in September and invalided back to England where he was admitted to Queens Hospital, Birmingham.  As a result of gunshot wounds, both his legs were amputated.  Eventually he was sent to the 2nd Auxiliary Hospital, Southall until his return to Australia by the hospital ship ‘Kanowna’ in 1918. 

After his discharge Francis returned to Inverell for a few years.  He married in Sydney in 1927 and remained there until his death in 1945.

Walter and Francis have their names inscribed on the Inverell Honor Roll, and the Church of England and Fernhill School Honor Rolls.  Water’s name is also inscribed on the Inverell Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade at Inverell.

 Photo:Private Walter John Morris, Courtesy Australian War Memorial, Image HO6589