A Collection of Awards to the Worcestershire Regiment formed by Group Captain J. E. Barker

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Date of Auction: 27th September 2017

Sold for £600

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Great War 1916 ‘Somme’ D.C.M. pair awarded to Sergeant, later Second Lieutenant, F. A. Morrow, Worcestershire Regiment, for gallantry on the Leipzig Salient, 7 July 1916

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (14512 Sjt: F. A. Morrow 3/Worc: R.); British War Medal 1914-20 (2. Lieut. F. A. Morrow.) last re-impressed, contact marks from Star, otherwise very fine (2) £600-800

Footnote

Provenance: DNW, March 2007.

D.C.M. London Gazette 1 January 1917 (details appeared in London Gazette of 13 February 1917):

‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed great courage and initiative in rallying and leading the men of his own and another unit at a critical time.’

Frank Alfred Morrow was born in Limehouse, London, in September 1892. He was the son of G. E. Morrow, a Master Oar and Scull Maker, who was born in Melbourne, Australia. Morrow worked in his father’s workshop prior to serving during the Great War with the Worcestershire Regiment in the French theatre of war from 2 April 1915. He advanced to Sergeant, and was serving with the 3rd Battalion by the summer of 1916.

The 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment served as part of the 7th Brigade, 25th Division on the Somme. Morrow distinguished himself in action on the Leipzig Salient as part of the Battle of Thiepval, 7 July 1916. His gallantry is recorded in The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War, by Captain H. FitzM. Stacke, M.C.:

‘Dawn of July 3rd found the 3rd Worcestershire crowded in narrow shelter-trenches inside Aveluy Wood. Around them the trees were broken and stripped by shell-fire. On every side shells burst incessantly. On the far side of the river valley the steep Theipval Ridge loomed up sharply against the growing light, and on that Ridge the troops in front were fighting fiercely in a tangle of German trenches - the Leipzig Salient. The German front line had been captured, but the supporting trenches were resisting all attacks.

The Battalion remained in reserve for forty-eight hours, momentarily expecting to advance and bombarded from time to time with heavy shells. Not until after dark on July 4th did the companies move forward across the River Ancre into reserve trenches at Authuille.

Further forward, the 1st Wiltshire had taken over the captured German front line and were fighting fiercely among the complicated inner defences of the Leipzig Salient. The fighting swayed to and fro. Before dawn on July 5th the enemy made a sharp attack. The Wiltshire held their ground but their losses were so heavy that about midday two companies of the Worcestershire were sent up to their support. Rain had been falling, and the trenches up which the two companies struggled were choked with mud. That evening, after a heavy bombardment, the Wiltshire attacked and gained a little ground, but only with heavy loss, and another company of the Worcestershire was sent to their aid.

Thenceforward for forty-eight hours (July 6th and 7th) Wiltshire and Worcestershire lads fought desperately in the deadly salient. The two battalions were intermixed in a maze of trenches under continuous heavy shell-fire. Bombing attacks were made by each side whenever enough bombs could be brought up along the choked communication trenches.

One company of the 3rd Worcestershire lost all its officers, killed or disabled: but Sergeant C. Price took command and, although wounded himself, he reorganised and consolidated the position, refusing to leave until his men were secure. At another point, where casualties had been very heavy, all the officers, both Worcestershire and Wiltshire, had fallen. Sergeant F. A Morrow took command of the leaderless men of both units, held his ground and re-established his position. (Sergt. Price and Sergt. Morrow were both awarded the D.C.M.) Attack and counter-attack followed in quick succession and the losses were heavy; but all the troops fought splendidly. “When I got into the Leipzig Salient,” a staff officer wrote of the fighting on July 7th, “I found the place in a most awful state. The enemy’s shelling was tremendous, trenches were obliterated and the rain helped to make what was left of them crumble away; dead, dying and wounded were all over the place. The two companies of the 3rd Worcestershire were only 50 men all told, the Wiltshire had only three officers left, and there seemed no end of the German shells and the consequent casualties.” ’

Morrow was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, on 25 September 1918. Having been discharged after the Great War, he re-engaged for service during the Second War. He was commissioned Temporary Captain, Royal Marines in January 1942. He served as a Company Commander in the 19th Royal Marine Battalion, and the latter were engaged as part of the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation (MNBDO). Morrow was discharged from service, and died at Southend Municipal Hospital in June 1944.

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