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Person Details
13 Feb 1890
Arnold, Nottingham
William was the youngest surviving child of Joseph and Sophia Morris (nee Jew). Joseph was born in Arnold in 1851 (A/M/J Basford). Sophia Jew, the daughter of Alfred and Sophia Jew, was born in 1848 also in Arnold (A/M/J Basford). They were married in 1880 (O/N/D Basford) and had six children of whom only four survived childhood: Sophia Elizabeth b. 1881 (O/N/D Basford), Samuel b. 1885 (O/N/D Basford), Annie b. 1888 (A/M/J Basford) and William b. 13 February 1890 (J/F/M Basford). Joseph Morris was a blacksmith and in 1881 he and Sophia were living at 64 Front Street, Arnold. Joseph (39) and Sophia (41) were still living on Front Street in 1891 but now had four children, Sophia Elizabeth (9), Samuel (5), Annie (3) and William (1). The family was still living on Front Street in 1901; by then the eldest daughter, Sophia (19) was working as a hosiery machinist and the eldest son, Samuel (15) was an assistant blacksmith, presumably working with his father. The youngest children, Annie (13) and William (11) were still at school. Joseph Morris died aged 53 in 1904 (O/N/D Basford). William became a professional footballer in 1909 but was given a free transfer from Liverpool FC in 1910 and presumably returned to Arnold as in 1911 he was living with his widowed mother at 88 Front Street, Arnold. William (21) was described as a shopkeeper on the census. Also at home was his sister Annie (23) a machinist. It seems likely that Sophia had married James Herring in 1902 (J/F/M Basford). In 1911 she and James (32), a bricklayer and builder (employer), were living at Red Hill, Arnold, with their son James (8). Samuel (25) had married in 1908 (A/M/J Basford) and in 1911 was living at 6 Front Street, Arnold, with his wife Emma (27). He was still working as a blacksmith (employer). William's mother, Sophia, died at the age of 65 in 1914 (J/A/S Basford). William married Maud Webster, the daughter of Fred Webster of Surgey's Lane, Arnold, the following year (1915, J/F/M Basford) and they then lived at 140 Front Street, Arnold, Nottingham. They had one son, Willie. Of William's siblings, Samuel died aged 59 in 1944 (September Basford) and Sophia Elizabeth died in 1956 at the age of 74. Sophia's husband and son predeceased her; her son James died in 1943 (widow Winifred Annie). The address of both James and Sophia was given on the probate records as 19 Derry Hill Road, Arnold. Annie has not yet been traced after 1911 although her name appeared in the notices of William's death which were published in the local paper in 1919.
William worked for Home Brewery before becoming a professional footballer but in 1911 was in business as a fruiter and greengrocer. He played for Arnold St Mary's (1906), Daybrook Baptist Club (1907), Bulwell White Star (1908) and Stanton Hill (1908) and was given a trial with Lincoln City, signing in January 1909. He was eligible to play for Liverpool FC from 4 May 1909 and played a number of games in the following season but was given a free transfer in July 1910.
21 Sep 1918
3046493 - CWGC Website
Ordinary Seaman
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
He joined the RNVR and in 1918 was serving in SS Polesley, a defensively armed merchant ship of 4,221 gross registered tonnes. On 21 September 1918 Polesley was off the West Cornwall coast about one mile to the north of the Pendeen Light House on passage from Cardiff to France with a cargo of coal when she was hit by a torpedo fired from a German submarine. Forty-three men, including William and the master, lost their lives. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. SS Polesley's merchant seaman are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Extracts from the Nottingham Evening Post dated 6th January 1919 “MORRIS. - Missing 21st September, 1918, now reported drowned, William, 3rd Gunner H.M.S. Polesley, dearly loved husband of Maud Morris, Front-street, Arnold. - From sorrowing wife and Willie. “MORRIS. - Missing 21st September, 1918, now reported drowned, William, 3rd Gunner H.M.S. Polesley, dearly loved brother of Samuel, Sophia, and Annie. Sadly missed.” Above extract courtesy of Jim Grundy and facebook page of Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914 - 1918.
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