Private Robert Morrow V.C.
The Newmills War Hero
Newspapers : From the Belfast Newsletter dated 25th May 1915
The report details the award of the Victoria Cross and Private Morrows subsequent death.
Belfast Newsletter dated 25th May 1915
News has just been received in Dungannon of the death of Private Robert Morrow, 1st Battalion Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers), who was awarded the Victoria Cross, as announced in yesterday's issue of this newspaper:-
'For most conspicuous bravery near Messines on 12th April 1915, when he rescued and carried successively tom 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 heavy fire from the enemy.'
News has just been received in Dungannon of the death of Private Robert Morrow, 1st Battalion Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers), who was awarded the victoria Cross, as announced in yesterday's issue of this newspaper:-
Private Morrow, whose mother lives at Sessia, close to the village of Newmills, Dungannon, did not live to receive personally the coveted distinction, as he was killed in action on 26th April, just a fortnight after his gallant conduct as Messines. He was born in Sessia twenty two years ago, his father being Mr 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 Orphan Society, and was educated at Carland National School. While at school he was a 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 to be of great help to his widowed mother. He enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers five years ago, and on the outbreak of war was despatched to France with the first contingent 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 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. Immediately on hearing of his brother's death, Mrs Morrow's eldest son Richard , at once joined the 12th Inniskilling Fusiliers. Recently in the Parish Church the rector, Rev Gordon Scott, referred in moving terms to the deceased, and read to the congregation the references made by his colonel and captain.
Our Dungannon correspondent writes:-
'When Private Morrow fell on 26th April, he was again engaged in the heroic task of assisting wounded 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.'
Private Morrow was the second Ulsterman to win the Victoria Cross in the present war, the other recipient of the coveted distinction being Sergeant (now Lieutenant) David Nelson, of the famous L Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, a native of Monaghan, who was decorated for:- 'Helping to bring the guns into action under heavy fire at Nery on 1st September, and while severely wounded remaining with them until all the ammunition was expended, although he had been ordered to retire to cover.'
On his return from France, Second Lieutenant Nelson underwent an operation, and was subsequently married at Woolwich. He visited his native district some time later, and was recorded a public reception by the people of Monaghan, who presented with a beautiful service sword and accoutrements, selected by Colonel John Leslie, D.L.
Another officer closely associated with the Imperial province who gained the Victoria Cross in the European war was the late Lieutenant James Anson Otho Brooke, Gordon Highlanders, eldest son of Captain H V Brooke, Deputy Lieutenant for Aberdeenshire, and grandson of the late Sir Arthur Brinsley Brooke, the second baronet of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh.
The Victoria Cross decoration was instituted on 29th January 1856, for the purpose of signalising special individual acts 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 extra 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 the Knighthood, including the Garter (held only among V.C.s by the late Field Marshal Earl Roberts.
Robert Morrow V.C. © 2015-20
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