George Henry Morris


George Henry Morris

Lieutenant-Colonel George Henry Morris (16 July,1872 – 1 September,1914) was the first commanding officer to lead an Irish Guards battalion into battle.

He was born in Spiddal, Co. Galway, Ireland, the second son of Michael Morris, 1st Baron Killanin, and was educated at The Oratory School, Edgbaston. He joined The Rifle Brigade in India as Second Lieutenant in 1892, after having passed from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In 1897 he was appointed Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion The Rifle Brigade, a position he held for four years. He saw active service with the Tochi Valley Expeditionary Force in 1897-98, receiving the medal with clasp. In the second Boer War he served with Damant’s Horse from 1901-1902, being present in operations in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony. He was twice Mentioned in Dispatches and received the Queen's South Africa Medal with four clasps. [cite book | last = Clutterbuck | first = Colonel L. A (Editor)| title = The Bond of Sacrifice | publisher = The Anglo-African Publishing Contractors | date = 1915 | ] On the conclusion of the war he rejoined the Staff College, which he had entered in 1901, and passed out in 1903. Obtaining his Majority on transfer to the Irish Guards in 1906, he was next a General Staff Officer at the Army Staff College from 1908-1911, finally becoming Lieutenant-Colonel when succeeding Charles FitzClarence to the command of the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards in July 1913.

He took the battalion to France on August 12,1914, at the outbreak of World War I and was killed in action on September 1, during the Retreat from Mons when the 4th (Guards) Brigade formed a rear-guard for the 2nd Division in La forêt de Retz near Villers-Cotterêts. [cite book | last = Kipling | first = Rudyard | title = The Irish Guards in the Great War | publisher = Macmillan | date = 1923 | ] [cite book | last = Holmes | first = Richard | title = Riding The Retreat | publisher = Pimlico | date = 1995 | id = ISBN 978 0712 658621 ]

Colonel Morris was recognised as one of the most brilliant lecturers in the British Army, and was an authority on strategy, tactics, and military history. He was a member of the Guards' Club, the Garrick Club and the County Galway Club. [cite book | last = Clutterbuck | first = Colonel L. A (Editor)| title = The Bond of Sacrifice | publisher = The Anglo-African Publishing Contractors | date = 1915 | ]

On April 29, 1913, he married Dora Maryan, second daughter of James Wesley Hall, of Melbourne, Australia at Westminster Cathedral in London. Their son Michael, born on July 30,1914, succeeded as Lord Killanin when his uncle Martin Henry FitzPatrick Morris, 2nd Baron Killanin died in 1927 without an heir.

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