A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the South Wales Borderers

Date of Auction: 19th July 2017

Sold for £1,300

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

A good Great War ‘Western Front’ M.C. group of four awarded to Second Lieutenant W. R. Morgan, South Wales Borderers, for the action at Hart’s Crater, where he went out alone to rescue a wounded man whilst under machine gun and bomb fire - He was subsequently killed in action on 2 April 1916

Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (2 Lieut. W. R. Morgan. S. Wales Bord.); British War and Victory Medals (2 Lieut. W. R. Morgan.) extremely fine (4) £1400-1800

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 30 March 1916. (Temporary Second Lieutenant, 9th Battalion (attached 1st) The South Wales Borderers).

‘For conspicuous gallantry. He went out alone and brought in a badly wounded man under machine gun and bomb fire. He was hit three times by unexploded bombs’.

Sold with a South Wales Borderers cap badge; original paper clipping (Western Mail, 11 April 1916) announcing the death and giving the obituary and photograph of Lieutenant Morgan; together with a quantity of copied service papers and other research and damaged named card boxes of issue for campaign medals.

William Rich Morgan was born in the Parish of Abercarn, Monmouthshire. Employed as a clerk at the Celynen Colliery, he was known as an athlete and played football for Abercarn Football Club under the captaincy of his brother, T. W. Morgan. With the outbreak of war he attested for service in the R.A.M.C. on 5 September 1914, aged 22 years, 4 months. After attaining the rank of Sergeant, in May 1915 he was discharged to a commission in the 9th Battalion South Wales Borderers. Attached to the 1st Battalion, he entered the France/Flanders theatre of war on 26 November 1915, joining the battalion at the front on the Loos Salient on the 29th. Lieutenant Morgan, the battalion bombing officer, won his M.C. rescuing a wounded man under heavy fire during the assault on Hart’s Crater, 19 February 1916. He was notified of the award on 7 March and presented with the ribbon by the G.O.C. on the 9th. Lieutenant Morgan was killed in action on 2 April 1916. The position occupied by the 1st Battalion was subject to artillery fire, especially heavy howitzers firing high explosive shells with delayed action fuses which had a burrowing effect. One heavy shell caught “D” Company’s Headquarters in a dug-out at the side of the quarry near Hart’s Crater and killed most of the occupants - one of those killed was Lieutenant Morgan; the war diary stating that he ‘was killed by being buried in a dug-out’. 2nd Lieutenant W. R. Morgan, son of John Morgan of Islwyn Street, Abercarn was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Loos.

See lot 38 for brother’s medals.