MORLEY, George

203133, Lance-Sergeant, George MORLEY
Aged 33

Suffolk Regiment, 8th Battalion
Formerly 2751, Suffolk Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Tuesday 31st July 1917

Born in Lakenheath on 26th March 1884 (Mildenhall Q2-1884 4A:677), baptised in All Saints, Lakenheath on 4th December 1887, son of Edward and Rebecca MORLEY (née MACKENDER).

1891 census... Aged 7,he was living at Anchor Lane, High Street,Lakenheath with his father- Edward [39] general labourer; mother- Rebecca [38]; brother- William [13]; brother- Ernest [9]; sister- Elizabeth [4] and sister- Violet [2]. All were born in Lakenheath.

1901 census...Aged 17, a farm labourer living at Anchor Lane, Lakenheath with is parents, brothers William and Ernest, sisters Elizabeth and Violet and 3 new siblings, Lily [9] Charles [6] and Alice [4] all born in Lakenheath.

He married Mary Ann MOLE [17-11-1888] in Q2-1908 in Thetford 4B:771, she was born in Croxton, Norfolk.

1911 census...Aged 27, a fruit farm labourer, living at Cemetery Yard, Lakenheath with his wife Mary Ann [22] and un-named daughter {Mildred Violet 30-3-1911).

His father had died in 1909 and his widowed mother, brother Charles and sister Alice were still at Anchor Lane, Lakenheath

George and May had three more children, Reginald [4-4-2923], Ellen [13-10-1914] and Alfred George [7-11-1916], living at Cemetery Road, Lakenheath.

Elder brother of Charles MORLEY see here

His picture appeared in the Norwich Mercury on Saturday September 8 1917.

Enlisted in Bury St Edmunds
The first day of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (now known generally as Passchendale). This offensive cost the British 310,000 casualties. Imagine advancing to fight through a field of mud, then add in the fact that in the ten days leading up to the attack, 4.25 million shells were fired by our artillery alone. The 8th Service Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment were involved in the attack on Pilckem Ridge as part of 53rd Brigade. They reached their assembly point at 2 am on 31st July and by zero hour (3:50) had established HQ. at Wellington Crescent. During this move enemy shelling set fire to some dumps and a tank, lighting up the ground. As "C" Coy.was passing through Zillebeke a shell burst amongst them, killing and wounding several. The attacking division, through which the 53rd Brigade were to leapfrog when the 1st objective was take, moved off and the 8th Suffolks and 6th Royal Berkshire waited for front line reports that would tell them the way was clear for their advance. By a tragic mistake the 30th Div infantry wheeled to their left and attacked Chateau Wood instead of Glencorse Wood. This misleading information that Glencorse Wood was in our hands led to the 53rd Brigade plunging into a fatal gap. Some did reach the line of the 1st objective. Lt Bolingbroke with scouts, went forward to clear Sanctuary Wood and place signposts to guide the companies. Sniper fire made this a precarious operation but the message was sent back that 30th Div were on the north of the Menin Road and in Chateau Wood.
Despite machine gun fire a platoon of B Coy got up to Lt Bolingbroke's postion and they decided to attack the second line (Surbiton Villa) with what troops they could collect, without waiting for support. In severe fighting around Surbiton Villa a party of "A" Coy managed to wipe out a machine gun post.The battalion got onto the Menin Road near Clapham Junction and advanced several hundred yards beyond it before they were checked and forced to shelter in shell holes. That was the end of the attack as the Germans were in great strength around Glenclorse Wood. Whilst waiting here a cock pheasant alighted about fifty yards ahead. A runner shot the bird, carrying it out of battle on the end of his rifle, probably not the first time he had killed game without a licence!
177 casualties were sustained by the battalion in this action, of these 61 were killed and only 6 have known graves.

The Bury Free Press of 18th August 1917 reported:-

Another addition had been made to the roll of honour for this parish, as a married man, Prvt Geo.Morley, Cemetery Cottages, was killed in battle on July 31st. Mrs.Morley, his wife, has been officially notified. He leaves a family of four children, the youngest being only nine months. He was 33 years of age. He enlisted in November 1915 and had been in France three months, being killed the first day he was in the trenches. Widespread sympathy is felt for the widow and family.

© Pierre Vandervelden

George is buried in Bedford House Cemetery, Ypres Belgium..Enclosure No.2 II. B. 17.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details