Topic: William John Morrison

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William John Morrison (Service Number 27028) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.

William John Woodford Morrison was born in Geraldine on the 16thof October 1877 to parents Hugh and Ellen. William was one of at least 9 children born to Irish born labourer Hugh and English born Ellen.

William seems to have had a variety of different jobs in a number of different locations. When he enlisted with the 17th Reinforcements in May 1916 William had been working as a fireman with the Union Street Station in Dunedin.

Hugh Morrison, William's father died at Timaru Hospital in April 1907 and the widowed Ellen moved to Christchurch. She was living at 135 Peterborough Street and William enlisted from her address.

William’s brother James Arthur also served in the First World War. He died after being shot through the lungs with a dum-dum bullet during the initial Gallipoli landings in 1915. Another brother George Hugh was invalided home.

William's medical showed him to be 5 foot 2 ¾ inches tall with blue eyes, light brown hair and a fresh complexion. He left for Foreign Service on the 23rd of September 1916. William arrived at Devonport on the 18th of November 1916 and proceeded to Sling Camp on the Salisbury Plains Where he was posted to the Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion on 7th January 1917.

Next stop was France, by the 10th of December William was at the Base Depot at Étaples. He was briefly attached to No2 Machine Gun Company before returning to the 2nd Battalion in May 1917.

William saw heavy fighting at the Battle of Messines and was wounded in action on 13th of July 1917. He had suffered a gunshot wound to his right thigh and was hospitalised. This injury was compounded by bronchitis which then triggered asthma.

After moving through several medical centres in France, William was transferred to the Manor War Hospital at Epsom in England and then in December 1917 to No2 New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames.

In January 1918 William was assessed by the Medical Board as “No longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service”. He left for New Zealand on the Manganui from Liverpool on the 2nd of February 1918. He was officially discharged on the 13th of June 1918.

Back in New Zealand, and now aged 40, William wasted no time and married Hannah Corcoran. Hannah and William probably knew each other from Geraldine - Hannah was living at the Geraldine Hotel in 1905 and later moved to Christchurch and was living at the Oxford Hotel.

The newlyweds rented a house on Salisbury Street and William found work as garage hand.

William died on the 18th of February 1934 aged 55 years. He had probably been ill for some time as arteriosclerosis, chronic nephritis and a cerebral haemorrhage were all given as causes of death. Hannah and William had been living on Celia Street in Redcliffs. A requiem mass was held for William at the Catholic Cathedral on the 20th of February and he was then interred in the Returned Soldiers lawn at Bromley Cemetery.

Hannah died in November 1950 aged 80 years and is buried in Ruru Lawn Cemetery. They had no children.


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William John Morrison

First Names:William John
Last Name:Morrison
Place of Birth:Geraldine