3848 – 9th Battalion / 1st Pioneer Battalion / 2nd Tunnelling Company

Thomas Morris stated he was born in Rochester, England about 1884 and was the son of James W. and Rachael Morris. In 1891 the family were residents of Cossack-street, Rochester, Kent and was made up of James W. (35) a labourer, Rachael (34), Gertrude E. (12), Thomas E. (8) scholar, Sarah E. (8), Edith M. (4) and James W. (3). He came to Australia and was working in Queensland.

In Brisbane on July 31, 1915 at the Recruiting Depot the thirty-one year old labourer applied to enlist for active service abroad. Attestation papers were filled in with the following details of height 172cms (5ft 7½ins), weight 67.7kgs (149lbs) with a chest expansion of 99-102cms (39-40ins). Fresh was his complexion and his brown eyes that tested to good vision and had black hair. Two vaccination scars were classed as distinctive marks. Church of England was his religion. Next-of-kin was his father Mr James Morris of 29 Thanet Road, Erith, Kent, England. Swearing in took place the same day.

Basic training commenced with the 12th Reinforcement to the 9th Battalion and assigned the regimental number 3848 in the rank of Private. On December 30, 1915 he was appointed E.D.P. Corporal [Extra Duty Pay] for the voyage and the troops embarked the same day from Brisbane (1st Military District) on the HMAT A50 Itonus. He reverted to the rank of Private on March 9, 1916.

A week later he proceeded on March 17, 1916 to join the 9th Battalion at Zeitoun but on March 24 was taken on strength as a Sapper with the 1st Pioneer Battalion at Seraphim. Two days later this Battalion departed from Alexandria to join the B.E.F. in France arriving at Marseilles on April 2, 1916.

On May 9, 1916 he was wounded in action and taken to the 1st Field Ambulance suffering slight Contusions to his face and Concussion caused by an explosion of a mine. Two days later was transferred to the Divisional Rest Station at Doulien. He returned to duty on May 22, 1916.

Sapper Morris was transferred to the 2nd Tunnelling Company on July 3, 1916 due to Supernumeracy of No. 2 Company and was taken on strength the same day.

He was appointed Lance Corporal on December 1, 1916 in the field.

While on leave in England he was admitted to 1st Aust Dermatological Hospital at Bulford via orders from A.I.F. Headquarters for treatment of a Social Disease on February 17, 1917. After 57 days curative care was discharged on April 14, 1917.

On May 10, 1917 he marched in from England to the Aust General Base Depot at Etaples and rejoined his unit seven days later.

For twelve months overseas service he was issued with Blue Chevrons to wear on his uniform.

Military service continued without incident and was noted to be with his company in an audit on July 16, 1918.

He proceeded on leave to the United Kingdom on October 15 until October 30, 1918 when he rejoined his unit.

When Peace was declared he was with his unit and the Tunnelling Companies remained as part of the Army of Occupation assisting with rehabilitation of their district by clearing delayed-action mines and booby traps left by the enemy and repairing roads and bridges.

On January 18, 1919 he marched out to the Reinforcements camp as all 1915 personnel were recalled to go back to England first and prepare for their return to Australia leaving France on January 23.

The following day he marched in to the No. 4 Command Depot at Hurdcott. It seems transport was arranged to be on the H.T. Cluny Castle but did not embark for home when appointed.

At the A.I.F. Depot at Tidworth on May 1, 1919 he was promoted to Temporary 2nd Corporal for duty until July 28 when at No. 4 Group camp at Hurdcott he reverted to the rank of Private. The same day he left for Sutton Veny camp entering the No. 2 Group camp to await his voyage home.

On September 3, 1919 he departed on the H.T. Euripides and four days later was admitted to the ship’s hospital for six days for treatment of a Social Disease. The ship arrived in Sydney, NSW (2nd M.D.) on October 24, 1919 and he travelled to Brisbane, Qld (1st M.D.) In The Queenslander on Saturday November 1, 1919 the following was reported:

The following day at the No. 6 Aust General Hospital at Kangaroo Point he appeared before a Medical Board which found ‘no disability’ from his war service to which he agreed and was recommended to demobilise.

Military Discharge took place on December 17, 1919 in Brisbane (1st M.D.) on the termination of his period of enlistment.

Second Corporal 3848 Thomas Morris, 9th Battalion / 1st Pioneer Battalion / 2nd Tunnelling Company was awarded for his service, the British War Medal (10217) and the Victory Medal (10069).

Thomas Morris died accidentally on June 4, 1921 at the age of 36 years. The following newspaper report appeared in The Brisbane Courier on Monday June 6, 1921:

It is probable he was interred in the Toogoolawah Cemetery the following day.

© Donna Baldey 2012