Allan Duncan Morris was born in Chester, Cheshire on 29th November 1895, and the eldest of four brothers to parents Marion Morris [née Lowe] and Allan Tom Morris, a Colliery & Brick Agent.
After completing his education at Wellington1 in 1911 nothing is publicly known of Allan’s life until the 8th February 1915 when he joined the Inns of Court OTC as Private 2892 Allan Morris. In May he submitted his papers for an appointment to a temporary commission for the duration of hostilities within the army; his preferred choice being The South Wales Borderers.
On 21st June 1915 Allan was commissioned as a temporary Second-Lieutenant in 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The South Wales Borderers who were based at Kimmel Park in Rhyl where he remained for twelve months. Whilst there the possibility existed that he crossed paths with two other OW’s who spent some time in Rhyl: Frank Lloyd and Rodric Williams.
Allan was subsequently posted to one of the ‘Pals’ battalions; 13th (Service) Battalion (2nd Rhondda), The Welsh Regiment, a unit within 114th Brigade in 38th (Welsh) Division, where he joined them at BERNEUIL, some 20 miles east of Abbeville in France on 26th June 1916.
A few days later on 10th July 1916 he was involved in his first offensive action when his was one of the battalions used in the clearance of Mametz Wood2. During the advance into the wood the Battalion War Diary3 recorded;
…the men formed into small parties, and proceeded to clear the wood advancing rapidly until the barrage was reached when we suffered many casualties from our own shell fire. When it was realised that it was our own barrage we were in and not that of the Hun, the order to withdraw was given and the Battalion withdrew for a time.
At 4.30am on 11th July 1916 the Battalion was relieved in the line and withdrew to MINDEN POST where the roll was taken and in addition to the known dead and wounded a further 12 officers and 250 other ranks were unaccounted for.
Allan received his promotion to First-Lieutenant on 21st March 1917 and the following month was involved in the raid on an objective known colloquially as VON KLUCK’S COTTAGES, the objective for which was to kill or capture Germans, obtain their ID and to destroy or capture any enemy Machine Gun’s in the vicinity. Sappers from the Royal Engineers working alongside the infantry were tasked with blowing up any concrete or other re-enforced structures. The raid over the night of 30th April/1st May resulted in the death of between 30/40 of the enemy, the capture of 11 PoW’s and 1 granatenwerfer4. All enemy dug-outs and gun emplacements, bar one, were destroyed. There were no fatalities on the British side but 19 other ranks received slight wounds.
War notwithstanding, time was found on 23rd May 1917 to stage the Welsh Divisional Rugby Competition final near the front line and the Battalion beat the Royal Army Medical Corps [RAMC] 3:0 which was a source of pride to the men from the Rhonda.
Two days later the mood changed when the men of Battalion were advised of the following:-