The name of Charles Morris appears on the churchyard cross and memorial board at St. Lawrence and also on the cenotaph in Albert Square. Searches on CWGC, Soldiers Died, Ancestry and Find My Past for a possible medal card, service or pension record have drawn a blank. Alf Beard’s ‘Roll of Honour’ for Biddulph does not have any information and the British Legion ‘Roll of Honour’ also lacks detail but states that he was a Private who was killed in action in France. His home address is given as Brown Lees although his name does not appear on the Brown Lees memorial which is contrary to the British Legion details.
Despite careful searches of census returns for 1891, 1901 and 1911 it has not been possible to locate, with any certainty, anyone of that name that could be the Charles we are searching for, other than a Charles Morris born in 1885 who lived at Mossley.
Those researched include Charles Morris, son of George and Hannah who in 1901 was living at the Huts, Brown Lees. This Charles emigrated to Canada in 1906 and appears on a form dated 1919 in his brother William’s service records as alive and living in Canada. Another Charles to be discounted was the Charles Morris who in 1911 and aged 15 was living with widowed mother, Mary Jane at Welsh Row. In 1901 he was living with his family in Willenhall and had a middle name beginning with ‘R’. This was probably ‘Robert’ and as a Charles Robert Morris married Hilda McKay at Congleton in 1922 he too has been ruled out.
Charles E. Morris, son of Charles and Maria and living in 1901 at Ball’s Court, Newcastle was sent to Heswall school on the Wirral and was there in 1911. This Charles E. Morris joined The King’s Liverpool Regiment and died on May 3rd 1917. Soldiers Died confirms that he was the son of Charles Morris of Ball’s Court, Newcastle. Researching the family through census returns does not throw up any links to Biddulph and thus, this Charles has been ruled out.
So, who remains as a potential Charles for our Biddulph soldier?
Soldiers Died has a Charles E. Morris who was born in Newcastle and enlisted in Stoke-on-Trent and was Private 203351 in the 4th battalion Seaforth Highlanders. He was killed on July 20th 1918. I have not been able to find any more information on this soldier.
Another possibility is the Charles Morris, born circa 1885 in Congleton who in 1911 was living and working with the Clowes family in the High Street. The Clowes were well known butchers and head, John Clowes, had been born in Biddulph. This Charles appears to have married Mary Emma Hall at Mossley in 1913.
Unless information comes to light in the future – maybe through a newspaper article, we are sadly, unlikely to ever know just who the Charles Morris commemorated on the Biddulph memorials was.