Francis Richard Morris (Frank) was born in the June quarter of 1920 in the Hawarden Registration District. (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/26A/48). He was the son of William Manning and Charlotte May Morris (nee Eyles). They had married in the June quarter of 1919 in Northampton. (Northampton Vol. 3b Page 272)
Frank’s father, William Manning Morris’s military service is a little mysterious, as he, on the same day, according to Ancestry.co.uk, was in both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. The Royal Air Force information comes from https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=61400&h=237737&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=mYP9303&_phstart=successSource – However the original documents can only be accessed by subscribing to “Fold3” and I do not have the facility, which is an extension to Ancestry.co.uk. It is a payable site.
William Manning Morris in the UK, Royal Air Force Airmen Records, 1918-1940
Name: William Manning Morris
Birth Date: 20 Mar 1888
Birth Place: Hope, Wrexham, Flintshire, Wales
Service Date: 25 Jan 1918
Service Number: 247870
Father: John Morris
Next of Kin: John Morris
Relation to Airman: Father
The Royal Navy information, I can verify as they are at the bottom of this page, William Manning Morris’s Service Records.
Royal Navy, WW1:-
William Manning Morris in the UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1848-1939
Name: William Manning Morris
Birth Date: 20 Mar 1888
Birth Place: Wrexham Flint
First Service Date: 25 Jan 1918
First Ship Served On: President II
Last Service Date: 31 Mar 1918
Last Ship Served On: Strathbeg
Service Number: F47870
Occupation – Butcher.
Place of birth – Wrexham, Flint.
Age – 23???
Height – 5 feet 6 inches.
Chest – 36inches.
Hair – Brn.
Eyes – Grey.
Complexion – Fresh.
There is a query though as the first day of service in both was 25th January 1918 and with the Royal Navy his last day of service was 31st March 1918.
I suspect that The Royal Navy was the right one as the Service No. is very close to the R.A.F. Service No., so it may be the Ancestry/Fold information, on line is incorrect.
I do not know anything about Frank’s early years, except for his time in the Hawarden Grammar School:-
Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10Page 441626/2271 MORRIS, Francis Richard date of birth – 16.4.20, Stoneleigh, High Street, Caergwrle, father – Butcher, date of entry – 13th September 1932, Hope Council, £6 Rly Trav., Date of leaving – 2nd October 1936 – Clerk.
Frank’s twin siblings, William John & Alice Maisie also went to Hawarden Grammar School: –
1792/2623 MORRIS, William John. Date of Birth – 3rd August 1924 “Stoneleigh,” High Street, Caergwrle. Father’s Occupation – Butcher. Date of Entry – 17th September 1935. Previous School – Hope Council El. Date of leaving 24th July 1942 – Manchester University. (William John, I believe, went on to become a Physisist.)
11554/2921 MORRIS, Maisie Date of Birth – 3rd August 1924 “Stoneleigh,” High Street, Caergwrle. Father’s Occupation – Butcher. Date of Entry – 16th September 1937. Previous School – Hope Council. Date of leaving 24th July 1941 – Clerk.
According to the Newspaper cutting from the Chester Chronicle 21st August 1943, Frank, after leaving Hawarden Grammar School was appointed to a Clerical position under Flintshire County Council. He was a lieutenant in the Boy’s Brigade In Caergwrle, and had been a teacher in the Castle Street Methodist Church. Early in 1940 he joined the R.A.F. and received his “wings” in Canada.
Your Country needs you. – On the day Britain declared war on Germany, 3 September 1939, Parliament immediately passed a more wide-reaching measure. The National Service (Armed Forces) Act imposed conscription on all males aged between 18 and 41 who had to register for service.
The next time we see Frank’s parents is on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939. Although Frank is not on it. They were living at Stone Leigh, High Street , Caergwrle, which was under Hawarden R.D., Flintshire, Wales. This source gives us dates of birth. William M. Morris was born on the 20th March 1888 and was a Butcher. Charlotte M. was born on the 1st May 1889 and as most women on this register, who did not have a job was described, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Their daughter Alice M. Morris* was born on the 3rd August 1924 and was still at school. Alice was a twin, I believe, a twin brother, William John. There are 2 redacted or closed records, was he one of the closed records, but if so, why was Alice on it?
*I believe that Alice Maisie was to marry Noel G. Davies in the Methodist Church, Castle Street, Caergwrle, in 1951. (Flintshire (Mold) A107/01/E14).
So Frank was to find himself training to be a Flight Sergeant (Pilot) and eventually finding himself in Scotland at R.A.F. Castle Kennedy:-
RAF Castle Kennedy was a World War II airfield located in Dumfries and Galloway. The site lies approximately five miles east of Stranraer, on the north side of the A75.
World War II
The airfield returned to active service during World War II, and like many Scottish locations, become a training establishment, home to facilities displaced from the south as they were within easy reach of German bombers. The west coast of Scotland saw a number of gunnery and bombing ranges being created in its quiet waters and shores, and Castle Kennedy became a Gunnery School
A concrete perimeter road, hangars, and administration facilities were added to the field prior to the arrival in June, 1941, of the Central Gunnery School from Warmell in Dorset, via RAF West Freugh. This marked the beginning of No 3 Air Gunnery School Castle Kennedy, operating Blenheim, Hampden and Wellington aircraft, with Defiant and Lysander aircraft towing target drones.
Gun crews, and those on refresher courses, began training in gun turret operations with ground classes and simulators, then moved on to towed drones. Waterlogging of the runway forced operations to move to West Freugh in the autumn, leaving only the accommodation in use. The field closed in December, allowing two new concrete runways, a hanger, and nine blister hangars to be added over the next four months. Blackburn Bothas were added for operations, with Fairey Battles for towing, and the aircraft tally reached 73 during August. In an unfortunate coincidence, a Botha and Battle collided during an official visit by Lord Trenchard, first Marshal of the Royal Air Force, resulting in a number of serious injuries.
December 1942 saw the Air Gunnery School move to North Wales, with No 2 Torpedo School moving in to take its place. The Torpedo School was responsible for training Coastal Command crews operating in the firth of Clyde, and flew modified Bristol Beaufighters. A number of crashes were recorded, include a neat miss at Lochinch Castle to the north. The Torpedo School soon moved to RAF Turnberry, and No 3 Air Gunnery School returned to Castle Kennedy, now operating Ansons, with Martinets towing the drones. The school continued to operate for a further two years, training crews from around the world until the end of the war.
The school was disbanded in June 1945, when the airfield was taken over by 57 Maintenance Unit (MU) based at Loch Ryan, after which it was used for the storage of surplus aircraft such as Wellingtons and Mosquitos, until they were modified and sold, or scrapped. The airfield was finally closed in November 1946, after which it lay abandoned and unused.
According to the Newspaper reports, Francis Richard (Frank) died in Scotland – Frank’s death certificate:-
1 ResultShowing 1-1 of 1 (1 page)
Surname Forename Age at death Year Ref RD Name
MORRIS FRANCIS RICHARD 23 1943 886/ 15 Inch (Wigtown)
I bought vouchers and was able to download his Death Certificate. (In Folder): –
Page 5 No. 15 Francis Richard MORRIS, Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force, Single.1943 8th August , 11h 51 m A.M. Field on Kirminnock Farm, Usual Resident R.A.F. Station, Castle Kennedy. Male, 23 years. William Manning MORRIS, Master Butcher, May MORRIS, Maiden Surname EYLES. Due to War Operations, Multiple Injuries Following Aircraft Accident (Flying Accident), Death Instantaneous. As Certified by Dr. Mallet MORGAN S/L M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. A.T. Percival. T.W. Adjutant, R.A.F. , Castle Kennedy. August 9th 1943 at Stranraer
It appears from the Newspaper reports that Frank saved his 2 companions from death by his actions in bringing his plane down. Chronicle 21 Aug 1943 (In the Folder).
Henk Welting said:
12th September 2011 13:47
Default 430808 – Unaccounted airmen/airwomen – 8-8-1943
A – Killed on active service:
F/Sgt (Pilot) Francis R. MORRIS – 1113272.
Frank’s body was brought down from Scotland and he was buried at Hope Cemetery after a service at Castle Street Methodist Church, please see the Newspaper cutting dated the 21st August 1943 which describes the Funeral and burial. His Commanding Officer, in a letter to his parents stated – “ Your son was a brilliant Pilot and his skill in bringing his plane down undoubtedly saved the lives of his two companions.”
There is a Probate for Francis Richard Morris (Frank): –
Francis Richard Morris in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995
MORRIS, Francis Richard of Stoneleigh, High Street, Caergwrle, Flintshire died 8th August 1943 on War Service. Probate Llandudno, 3rd December to William Manning MORRIS, Butcher.
Frank’s father, William Manning Morris died on the 14th October 1961 according to his Probate:- William Manning Morris in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995: -MORRIS, William Manning of Stoneleigh, High Street, Caergwrle, Flintshire died 14 October 1961 at War Memorial Hospital, Wrexham, Denbighshire. Probate London, 8th February to William John MORRIS, Physicist and Joseph William LLOYD, Solicitor.
His mother Charlotte May Morris was to live 22 years longer and died on the 28th January 1983, again, according to her Probate: – Charlotte May Morris in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995: -MORRIS, Charlotte May of Stoneleigh, 54,High Street, Caergwrle, died 28 January 1983. Probate Manchester, 155th March.
So they would have been alive to be able to see their son’s name on the Hawarden Grammar School Roll of Honour which was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War. Recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.
*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.
Frank (Francis Richard) was loved and missed so much, but his name will be remembered for perpetuity for his sacrifice. His Inscription on his Gravestone tells us how much he was loved.
“HE WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD BELOVED BY ALL ALWAYS SMILING”