Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

(George) Richard MORRIS (1881–1917)

George Morris
(middle initial wrong in newspaper)

George Richard Morris (usually known as “Richard”) was born in Headington Quarry in 1881, the son of James Richard Morris (born at China Lane, Headington Quarry and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 26 July 1857) and Matilda Elizabeth Goodgame (born at Headington Quarry and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 14 August 1859).

His parents were married at Holy Trinity Church on 16 April 1881 and had four children:

  • George Richard Morris (born in Headington Quarry in 1881 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 25 September)
  • Matilda May Morris (born in Headington Quarry in 1883 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 24 June 1883)
  • Frank Morris (born in Headington Quarry on 6 October 1886 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Methodist Chapel on 5 January 1887)
  • Walter Morris (born in Headington Quarry on 13 August 1890 and baptised in New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 8 October).

At the time of the 1891 census George Richard Morris (9) was living in Quarry with his father of the same name, a 33-year-old builder's labourer also known as Richard and was; his mother Matilda (31), and his younger siblings Matilda (7), Frank (4), and Walter (seven months).

In 1901 George Richard (19) was working as a non-domestic gardener and living at “The Pits” in Quarry (probably 38 Pitts Road, where the family was definitely living after the war) with his parents and his three siblings: Matilda (17) was working in the home; Frank (14) was also a gardener; and Walter (10) was at school.

On 7 May 1904 at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, George Richard Morris (22) married Florence Annie Cooper (21). They appear to have had six children (the first four are definite, and the last two extremely likely, as the mother’s maiden name is correct):

  • Gertrude May Morris (born in Headington Quarry on 23 June 1905 and baptised at the Wesleyan Chapel in Tyndale Street, East Oxford on 25 July)
  • Arthur Richard Morris (born in Headington Quarry in 1906, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Frederick Morris (born on 14 November 1908 at 20 Harpes Road, Sunnymead and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 5 March 1909)
  • Charles Edward Morris (born in 1911, birth reg. in Headington district (included north Oxford) fourth quarter)
  • Likely: George W. Morris (born in 1913, birth reg. in Headington district (included north Oxford) second quarter)
  • Likely: Florence E. M. Morris (born in 1915, birth reg. in Headington district (included north Oxford) third quarter).

George Richard and his wife began their married life in Quarry, but between 1906 and 1908 they moved to 20 Harpes Road in north Oxford.

At the time of the 1911 census George Richard (29), described as a domestic gardener, was living at 42 Hayfield Road in St Margaret’s parish with his wife Forence (28), and two of their first three children: Arthur (4) and Frederick (2). Meanwhile their eldest daughter Gertie spent the 1911 census night with her paternal grandparents, who were still living at The Pitts in Quarry. Her grandfather Richard Morris (53) was still working as a builder’s labourer, and George’s two younger brothers were still at home: Frank (24) was a nurseryman gardener and Walter (20) worked at a cricket ground.

Poppy George Richard Morris volunteered to serve In the First World War and was a Private in the ill-fated 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 24691). He was killed in action in France at the age of 35 on 28 February 1917.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, on the stone plaque in the porch of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, and on the memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford.


Postscript

Quarry memorial

George Richard Morris’s parents
  • James Richard Morris died at the age of 77 at 14 Pitts Road (shortly afterwards renumbered 38) and was buried at Holy Trinity churchyard on 4 May 1935.
  • Mrs Matilda Morris died at 38 Pitts Road at the age of 79 and was buried with her husband on 30 May 1939.
George Richard Morris’s widow
  • Mrs Florence Annie Morris married her second husband, James Phipps, in the second quarter of 1922 in the Headington registration district. They continued to live at 42 Hayfield Road for the rest of their lives. James Phipps died at the age of 50 around the beginning of 1936, and Florence died at the age of 63 in 1945 (death reg. Oxford third quarter).
George Richard Morris’s children
  • Frederick Morris (born 1908) married Elsie Cooper, and they had four children: Peter, Sidney, Richard, and Sheila.
  • Charles Edward Morris (born 1911) was aged 24 and living at 42 Hayfield Road with his mother and stepfather when he married Dorothy May Thomas (26) of 65 Cardigan Street at St Margaret’s Church on 3 August 1936. Both were shop assistants. His father who was killed in the war is recorded as a “deceased gardener”.
George Richard Morris’s siblings
  • Matilda May Morris (born 1883) married the blacksmith Owen V. Stimpson in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1910. At the time of the 1911 census they were living at 4 Westbourne Terrace (now 113 London Road, currently Finders Keepers). Their daughter Violet May Stimpson was born on 5 July 1911 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 27 August 1911.
  • Frank Morris (born 1886) married Ethel M. Phipps in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1923. Their daughter Daphne Frances Morris was born on 25 May 1925 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28 June 1925. They were then living at Quarry High Street, and Frank was a rose gardener, probably with Mattock’s Roses in New Headington.

See also

Back to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website