Thursday, December 22, 2011

William Clarence Morgan : Christmas in waiting

My Great Grandfather's brother, William Clarence Morgan, a member of the 20th Battalion A.I.F. was wounded in France during WWI, on the 27th July 1918,  suffering a gunshot wound to the stomach. Many letters were exchanged between my Great, Great Grandparents  and the War Office as they were justifiably concerned about the welfare of their son. Below is a sample of the correspondence Will sent to family members during his convalescence and in anticipation of getting home in time for Christmas.

Will is in the last bed on the left
The verso reads:
Dear Niece, (26.9.18)
Just a P.C. to let you know I am getting on well now, and that I received your parcel which pleased me very well indeed. I suppose by now you have all heard the news of me being wounded. I am presently in our own [Australian] Hospital at Harefield Park, having being shifted from Bath Hospital on Saturday last. Well, I hope to be on my way home before Christmas. I have been marked for home, but don't know when I will be leaving here. I hope you are a good girl & getting on well at school, and that [your] Mother and Father are well & that you visit Grandma & Grandpa often. No more this time, so I will close now

With love & Kisses from Uncle Will

"Christmas Compliments"
from wounded Australian Soldiers, UK, 1918
However, Will was a very resilient young man, who after being transferred through many hospitals, both in France and the UK, was eventually deemed fit to return to Australia. This card sends his Christmas Greetings to his family. He was a prolific letter and postcard writer, and seemed very fond of his nieces, including my Grandmother and her sister, as I still have many of the cards he sent. 

This photograph was sent to my Great Grandfather, Thomas Morgan, and it reads:

My Dear Brother, (9.11.18)

I am doing A.1. at Lloyds now & looking forward to getting home. We should have  left here yesterday, but once again the boat was postponed. Never mind, we will all be home shortly & peace will be signed before XMAS. Keep a pint of Tooths XXX [brand of beer] should I be late in arriving old boy. Last word I had from Bert [another brother], he was doing O.K.  You will pick yours truly out in this Photo; doesn't look  as if I have just done 14 weeks in bed. Takes more than a hard headed "Fritz" [slang for  a German soldier] to kill a Morgan, although I had a narrow squeak. Love to Fran [my Great Grandmother]  and children.

Your affectionate Bro, Will

Will eventually returned home to Sydney and was discharged as "Medically Unfit" on the 19 July 1919, He had travelled from Weymouth, UK aboard the Hospital Transport Ship "Czar" which firstly arrived in Melbourne on the 16th May 1919. 

From the photograph below, it seems the whole family turned out to greet him and I'm pretty sure that there was more than one cold beer put aside for him! 

Morgan Family gathered to welcome home William Clarence, Lidcombe NSW, 1919
Surrounded by flags of the World

1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic site! I'm also pursuing family history with a passion - I had a great, great uncle named Alfred Sydney Quennell (23rd Battalion AIF) who was admitted to Harefield on 14th September 1918 and I suppose could well be one of the other bedridden patients pictured with William on 27 Sept 1918 or at Xmas. My bloke wouldn't be mentioned anywhere in William's correspondence by the slimmest of possibilities would he?