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Herbert Cooper Morgan was born on 17th September 1895 and lived with his father, Edward Morgan, at Beldornie, Merton Road, Southsea.

Between January and August 1914, he was working at D.H Evans on Oxford Street, London as an apprentice in the silk industry. He was a drapers assistant.

On 20th January 1915 Herbert enlisted as a Private in the Public Schools Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment at London. He was given the number 1433. At his enlistment medical he was described as being 19 years old, standing 5ft 7in tall and weighing 132lbs.

Later that year he applied for a commission and his application was strengthened with a reference the headteacher of Bishops Stortford college F.S Young (M.A, Oxon) who wrote;

Herbert Cooper Morgan attended this school as a pupil from 1906 – 1911. He left in 1911 to complete his education in Germany. I can certify that in my opinion he will make a good officer.

In July 1915 he was granted his temporary commission becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment (2nd Portsmouth). In 1916 he was transferred back to the Middlesex Regiment and proceeded to France where he was attached to the 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and joined them in the trenches between 7th-13th October 1916 when he was evacuated sick with Jaundice. He sailed back to the UK on the hospital ship Dieppe.


H.M. Hospital Ship Dieppe

Upon arrival in the UK he was taken to Lincoln and a doctor at the 4th Northern General Hospital wrote the following assessment about his condition.

… he was admitted here suffering from jaundice and debility. The former has disappeared but he is still weak and suffers from lack of appetite and insomnia. The board recommends this officer be granted six weeks sick leave. Cause: Exposure to cold in the trenches near Thiepval.

He reported for duty with the 5th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment at Fort Horsted, Chatham on 21st September 1916 and a month later he was transferred to their 21st Battalion.

Having returned to France, nearly one year later Herbert was diagnosed as having ‘Trench Fever’, 14th June 1917. He ceased his duties as a staff officer and on 16th July 1917 he was evacuated from Calais to Dover on the hospital ship Newhaven.

In mid-1917 Herbert he was transferred to the 9th Loyal North Lancs, but didn’t realise this so several letters went back and forth between him and the War Office clarifying the situation. He was shortly there-after promoted to Temporary Lieutenant.

N. Lan. R.
Temp. 2nd Lt. H. C. Morgan to be temp. Lt. 1 July 1917.

Herbert took an authorised period of absence from 16th July 1917 until joining the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 15th August 1917 at Felixstowe. He had expressed a desire to return to France and join the 9th (Service) Battalion in the field, hence requesting a spell of training with the Reserves.

Later that month he was hospitalised, spending two months at Cherryhinten Military Hospital in Cambridge from 28th August 1917 having for a second time contracted an STD.

In early 1918, coinciding with the first day of the German Spring Offensive, Herbert Cooper Morgan began an attachment to the Royal Air Force. He began his training as a Observer on the very day the R.A.F was founded. His education in Germany, thus knowledge of the ground behind enemy lines was clearly his strongest asset. The following entry was made on his R.A.F papers;

Special qualification
Educated in Germany on the Rhine. Knows Rhine Country well. Speaks German very fluently.

H.C. Morgan – Royal Air Force Summary

  • 25th March 1918 To report to Reading for med board. One months course in Aerial Observation, if passed fit by med board.
  • 1st April 1918 Posted into No.1 Obs S. AG. (Observers School of Air Gunnery) at Hythe.
  • 24th April 1918 Fit for general service.
  • 1st May 1918 Unfit any service for one month
  • 2nd June 1918 Unfit general service for one month
  • 20th June 1918 Severly censured by G.O.C; S.E Area
  • 20th July 1918 Fit for general service as Observer
  • 15th September 1918 Tidworth Med Fango Hospital
  • 5th October 1918 1 S.q.n.b.d (1 Squadron Base Depot?)
  • 19th – 21st November 1918 Fango Military Hospital (Salisbury Plain)
  • 3rd January 1919 Ceases at own request, therefore ceases to be entitled to pay (flying)
  • 12th February 1919 Returned to 3rd (Reserve) Bn, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Felixstowe.

In October 1921 Herbert relinquished his commission on completion of service and was permitted to retain the rank of Lieutenant. He returned to live at Southsea.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to Lieutenant Herbert Cooper Morgan

  1. Sarah Staveley says:

    Herbert Cooper Morgan was my 2nd great uncle. I am wondering if anyone has a photo of him or of his father, Edward Morgan?

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