Private Robert Morrow V.C.
The Newmills War Hero
Newspapers : From the Tyrone Courier dated 24th June 1915
On the 23rd June 1915 a letter (Figure 7.03) was published from an anonymous acquaintance of Robert, 'One too old for the front'.
Tyrone Courier dated 24th June 1915
The Newmills Victoria Cross Hero
To The Editor of the Tyrone Courier
Sir, there has already appeared in your paper more than one appreciation of the character and gallantry of Private Robert Morrow, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, whose lamented fate in the field of battle has evoked just widespread and justly deserved encomiums, in additional to the Victoria Cross recommended by Colonel Churcher. However, as his relatives and immediate neighbours at Newmills, Dungannon, on reading the notices that have been given of his career in the public press, are aware of some additional facts, and can at the same time make clear some of the circumstances which may have been obscure, I trust you will give space for the following in your columns.
Private Robert Morrow received his entire education at the national school not far from the townland of Sessia, Newmills, where he was born on 6th September 1891. The teacher of the school referred to was in young Morrow's time the same as now – Mt Thomas H McAdoo, but in Morrow's schooldays the school house in Carland was vacated and instead of it and instead of it, the present building alongside Carland Presbyterian Church known as Gortnarush National School became the habitat of the juveniles of the district, Morrow amongst the rest. Here our young hero remained until he was between 14 and 15 years old, enjoying not only the efficient tutelage of Mr McAdoo, but also the valued and friendly assistance of the Minister of Carland congregation, the Rev. Arthur Torrens, now of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. There is no doubt the memory of Private Morrow will long be cherished by his school fellows who had the pleasure of his companionship until February 1906.
Such of them as may read this, when they recollect his indomitable perseverance will readily endorse the opinion expressed of him by his former teacher who says, "He was a quiet, determined lad, but civil and obliging. If he made up his mind to a certain course, nothing except superior physical force could prevent him from carrying out his purpose" Mr McAdoo also tells that his late pupil was in a great degree attached to his profession as a soldier and when last home on furlough, he was so anxious to return to his duties that he could scarcely allow himself to remain at home with his widowed mother the full time allotted for his absence from the ranks.
Another circumstance worthy of mention about Private Morrow is the fact that he refused to allow "strong drink" to pass his lips; and certainly his expressed opinion of the Army quite contradicted the idea some entertain who would have us believe that the comradeship among soldiers is such that most young men easily led are prevented from living a sober and temperate life. His opinion and experience was quite the opposite.
The Rev D T Mackay in his pulpit ministrations on the 16th ult dwelt feelingly and comprehensively upon the sad and heroic fate of the deceased and emphasised how his life and character exhibited not only military bravery but Christian fortitude. Your readers will doubtless value the tribute of Mr Mackay as highly and heartily as did the members of his congregation who had the privilege of listening to his words, knowing that the bereaved family had been for some time, fellow worshippers with themselves. They knew that his filial piety, patriotism, devotion, and self sacrifice could scarcely be surpassed.
The writer would conclude by hoping that many of his youthful acquaintances will emulate the virtues of this truly distinguished hero, and will not procrastinate but at once show similar zeal in the service of their King and country.
Yours etc. One too old for the front. 22nd June 1915.
Robert Morrow V.C. © 2015-20
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