N. P. Morris
War dead Male Born 30/8/1876 Died 17/9/1918
Captain in the Royal Air Force, killed by a falling tree.
Andrew Behan has researched Morris: Captain Norman Preston Morris, R.A.F., was born on 30 August 1876 in Streatham, the second son and fourth of the seven children of Arthur Morris and Anne Morris née Groves. His father was a Hop Merchant. He was baptised on 28 September 1876 at St Leonard's Church, Streatham. The 1881 census shows him living at Ashfield, Leigham Court Road, Streatham, with his parents, five siblings, a cook, a housemaid, a head nurse and an under nurse. The 1891 census confirms that both he and his elder brother, Harold Arthur Morris were attending Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, as boarding pupils. The 1901 census shows him, his parents, four siblings, a cook, three housemaids and a kitchen maid living at Court Green, Leigham Court Road, Streatham. His occupation was recorded as a Hop Merchant. Electoral registers from 1904 show that he, his father and his elder brother were registered to vote in local elections, being registered at their business premises of 9 Southwark Street, Southwark.
On 6 July 1905 he married Leslie Anne Dixon at The Parish Church of St Marylebone. Her address was given as Ravensthorpe, Darlington and he was shown to have two addresses, Dungate Manor, Reigate Heath and 50 Weymouth Street, St Marylebone. He continued to be shown as a Hop Merchant. Electoral registers from 1904 show that together with his father he was still at Dungate Manor, Reigate, but those from 1907 show he had moved to Kingsley, Crossland Road, Redhill.
He and his wife had two children, Gerald Arthur Morris who was born on 29 February 1908 and baptised on 4 April 1908 and Ronald Charles Morris who was born on 15 January 1910 and was baptised on 13 February 1910, both baptisms taking place at St Matthew's Church, Redhill, Surrey, when the family were living at Kingsley, Crossland Road. The 1911 census confirms him and his family at this address, together with a cook, a house parlourmaid and a nurse (sick). On 18 December 1912, as Old Carthusians, both he and his elder brother, also a Hop Merchant, were initiated as Freemasons in the Charterhouse Deo Dante Dedi Lodge, No.2885. Electoral registers for 1913 show that he had moved to Breeze Point, 18 Furzefield Road, Reigate, Surrey.
The UK Navy List for August 1917 shows him having been appointed as a Temporary Lieutenant with effect from 25 May 1917 in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, serving in the Royal Naval Air Service. Southwark electoral registers confirm that he was recorded as absent voter for the 9 Southwark Street address as he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. His elder son, Gerald Arthur Morris died, aged 10 years, in August 1918 and was buried on 2 September 1918 at St Mary's Churchyard, Reigate.
He joined the newly formed Royal Air Force and as a Captain was serving as an Administrative Officer at Bude Air Station, Cornwall, when he was killed, aged 42 years, by a falling tree at Langford Hill, Marhamchurch, Bude, on 17 September 1918. He was buried on 21 September 1918 in Plot I, Grave 3885a, at Reigate Cemetery, Chart Lane, Reigate, RH2 7RN. Probate was granted on 9 November 1918 and his effects totalled £31,247-0s-11d. On 28 August 1919 his service effects totalling £169-13s-1d were sent to the executors of his estate followed by a further payment of £3-0s-3d on 6 August 1920. He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal 1914-1918. He is also commemorated on the Charterhouse School Panels and Roll of Honour of those who fell in the Great War and the Roll of Honour held in the vestibule of Freemasons' Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ.
His death by tree during WW1 was so odd we investigated the location, Langford Hill, Marhamchurch, Bude, and found some letters and a map that have been auctioned regarding the purchase of this land by the Admiralty "... for urgent war purposes ..." "Mooring-out ground for airships", "... it is not proposed to interfere with the trees...". And PeteLondon has a photo of an airship on site in the summer 1918.