Ernest was born in 1894, the son of Charles William Morris, a mason and bricklayer, and his wife Annie Morris, and they were living in Kerry Street, Montgomery before the war. Charles and Annie had 12 children, of whom only four survived into adulthood. Ernest, who was christened Alfred George Ernest Morris, was the youngest son, and in the 1911 census, he is shown as aged 17, and working as a cowman on a farm at Horsehay, Little Wenlock, Shropshire. This was a live in post, so he had already left home well before the war broke out. Ernest died of wounds, aged 22 on the 12th October 1916. He is buried in the North East corner of Montgomery (St. Nicholas) Churchyard. Families had to pay extra to have any lettering above and beyond the name, regiment and date of death. The rate was 3 pence and a halfpenny a letter. Rudyard Kipling was asked by the government at the time to draw up a list of suitable phrases, which would be acceptable for inscription. Records show that Ernest’s father chose the following inscription to be placed on his gravestone.
It was not possible to discover any detail about Ernest’s war record, but given that he was serving with the Rifle Brigade it is likely that he was serving at Loos when he was injured, as that was where the 12th Battalion was engaged in 1916. It is of interest to note that whilst Ernest’s grave is cut in the familiar Commonwealth War Graves Commission design, it is of a black slate and not Portland stone. The Commission in the early days was mindful of the need to provide gainful employment for men returning from the war, and families were offered the choice of a stone which would have been quarried locally, or Portland stone. Like Sgt Williams, also buried in Montgomery churchyard, in 1918, Ernest’s gravestone is made of local slate.
Peace, perfect Peace