b. 07/09/1891 Newmills, County Tyrone, Ireland. d. 26/04/1915 Ypres, Belgium.
Robert Morrow (1891-1915) was born at Sessia, New Mills, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland on 7th September 1891; one of nine children. His father was Hugh Morrow. His mother, Margaret Jane nee Ingram, was a farmer. Robert was taken into care by the Presbyterian Orphan Society after his father died suddenly and was educated at Carland and Gortnaglush National Schools in County Tyrone.
After finishing school, Robert ran the family farm until he enlisted in late 1910. Following training with the 3rd Battalion at the Depot, Gough Barracks, Armagh, he transferred to the 1st Battalion at Headley, Hampshire. The Battalion was at Shorncliffe, Kent when war broke out and he went with it to France on 22nd August 1914.
On 12th April 1915 near Messines, Belgium, Private Morrow rescued and carried to places of comparative safety several men who had been buried in the debris of trenches wrecked by shell fire. He carried out this work on his own initiative and under heavy fire from the enemy. Robert was the first man from his Regiment to be awarded the VC. He was also awarded the Russian Medal of St George 3rd Class on 25th August 1915. Sadly, Robert was not to receive his medals in person.
Thirteen days after his VC action, on 25th April 1915, he was carrying wounded soldiers to safety under heavy fire when he was fatally wounded during the Battalion’s attack at St Julien, Belgium. He died of his wounds the following day, and was buried in White House Cemetery, St Jean-les-Ypres.
As he had never married, his VC was sent to his mother in the post on 19th July 1915. This was the practice at the time for posthumous awards, but on 29th November 1916 the King presented it formally to her at Buckingham Palace. In addition to his VC, Robert was awarded the 1914 Star with Mons clasp, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and the Russian Medal of St George, 3rd Class. Although quite poor, his mother donated the medals to the Regiment in August 1919 rather than sell them. In return the Regiment purchased a piece of land she wanted to add to her farm and presented her with a sum of money. The medals are held in the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, Armagh, Northern Ireland.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS MUSEUM, ARMAGH, NORTHERN IRELAND.
BURIAL PLACE: WHITE HOUSE CEMETERY, YPRES, BELGIUM.
Robert Morrow's medals including VC on display at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, Armagh, Northern Ireland (on their website).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT IV, ROW A, GRAVE 44.
Robert Morrow's memorial stone laid in Newmills, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland (Picture courtesy of Des Gordon)
New Mills War Memorial
Close up of the above memorial
Carland Presbyterian Church Plaque
Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin (Thomas Stewart)