Private Robert Morrow V.C.
The Newmills War Hero
Newspapers : From the Tyrone Courier dated 27th May 1915
The Tyrone Courier and Dungannon News dated Thursday 27th May 1915 carried the news of Private Morrow's Victoria Cross with the Headline : VC for Newmills Soldier - Second Northern VC - Hero killed in action.
Tyrone Courier dated 27th May 1915
VC for Newmills Soldier – Second Northern VC - Hero killed in action.
Private Robert Morrow, of the 1st Battalion (Princess Victoria's) Royal Irish Fusiliers, who has been awarded the Victoria Cross, is a Newmills man, and the distinction he has gained has given great satisfaction not only in Tyrone but throughout Ulster. The act of bravery for which the decoration was awarded was as follows: "For most conspicuous bravery near Messines on April 12 (1915), when he rescued and carried successfully to places of comparative safety several men who had been buried in the debris of trenches wrecked by shell fire. Private Morrow carried out this gallant work on his own initiative and under very heavy fire from the enemy."
Dead Hero's Career.
Private Morrow, whose mother lives at Sessia, close to the village of Newmills, near Dungannon, did not live to receive personally the coveted distinction, as he was killed in action on the 26th April, just a fortnight after his gallant conduct at Messines. He was born in Sessia 22 years ago, his father being Hugh Morrow, a farmer, who died shortly after Private Morrow's birth, leaving a widow and numerous family in rather struggling circumstances. Private Morrow was taken under the care of the Presbyterian Orphanage Society, and was educated at Carland National School. While at school he was at quiet disposition, and was regarded with the utmost affection by both master and pupils. He was of very steady habits, and on reaching manhood, proved of great help to his widowed mother. He enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers five years ago, and on the outbreak of war was dispatched to France with the first contingency of the Expeditionary Force. He there acquitted himself with remarkable courage, and on being wounded some months ago the captain commanding his company wrote to Mrs Morrow acquainting her of the affair, and stating that her son was "a man absolutely devoid of fear". On recovering from his wounds he went once more on active service, and on the 12th April performed the brave deed for which the Victoria Cross has been awarded. Private Morrow then wrote home to his mother, modestly detailing the scenes in which he had been engaged and stated that his colonel had informed him that he would recommend him for the Victoria Cross. On that day fortnight however, he was fatally wounded and died on the field.
When Private Morrow fell on the 25th April, he was again engaged in the heroic task of assisting injured soldiers who were exposed to the heavy fire of the enemy. For his gallantry on this occasion, his captain again recommended him for the Victoria Cross.
Immediately on hearing of his brother's death, Mrs Morrow's eldest son Richard at once volunteered and joined the 12th Inniskilling Fusiliers, while on Sunday week last, the local rector, Rev. Gordon Scott, referred in moving terms to the deceased hero's valour and read to the congregation the references made by his colonel and captain above mentioned.
Private Morrow is the second Ulsterman to receive the V.C., the first recipient being Sergeant (now Second Lieutenant) David Nelson, of the famous L Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. He was a native of Monaghan, and received his decoration for gallantry at Mons on 1st September last.
The Victoria Cross decoration was instituted on the 29th January 1856 for the purpose of signalising special individual sets of bravery. It may be conferred upon those holding any rank in the naval or military services, and carries with it a pension of £10 to non-commissioned officers and men. The badge consists of a bronze cross patee with the Royal crown in the centre, and underneath a scroll bearing the inscription "For Valour". Additional acts of bravery are recorded by extra bars affixed to the ribbon suspending the cross, each additional bar carrying an additional £5 per annum. It is interesting to note that Surgeon-Captain A Martin-Leake, who is serving at the front with the Royal Army Medical Corps, is the only soldier with a clasp to his V.C. He was awarded the decoration for a gallant feat performed during the South African War, and obtained the clasp some months ago. The Victoria Cross has precedence of all Orders of Knighthood, including the Garter (held only among V.C.'s by the late Field-Marshal Earl Roberts.
Robert Morrow V.C. © 2015-21
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