Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: June 10th 1915
New Liskeard Speaker
A.S. Robinson

Another Letter from Capt. Robinson
How our Brave Townsman, Lieut. Morgan, Met His Death

France, June 10th, 1915.

I wrote you after hearing of Mr. Morgan's death and after receiving your cable, I did my best to get particulars. I was unable to get away for three days. The Division is moved to another position on the line. However, I located the 10th Battalion which was with its Brigade on duty in the trenches. As it is not customary to wander about after dark, that being the time when reliefs are carried out, I was obliged to go up to the trenches in the daylight. Otherwise, I should have had to wait a few days until the Brigade came out, and I was anxious to cable a reply, else you might be nervous from the delay.
At length I reached a shell ruined and deserted village adjoining a communication trench into which the Germans were pouring shells. A rifle bullet passed uncomfortably close to the head of my servant who accompanied me. About 500 yards brought me to the main trench where the 10th was on duty. I interviewed the O.C. and a number of men, and learned all I could from them. It happened that the regiment was relieved on the following day, so I visited them again with the result that I found a man who was on the spot, and saw Mr. Morgan hit. I was given different versions, but this is authentic. Lieut. Morgan's Company was holding an advanced portion of trench previously taken from the Germans which had a communication trench at either end leading to other German trenches held by the enemy. These communication trenches were barricaded with sand bags, and defended by bomb throwers. The German artillery, having the range of all these trenches, bombarded the right half of it about 100 yards, destroying much of the parapet. Then their infantry attacked with bombs and rifles. Our officers, with the exception of Mr. Morgan, were all put out of action. The remainder of the Company in the exposed right half of the trench moved over to the left half. Mr. Morgan, who had been at the extreme left, moved over to the right to direct operations at the weakest point. He held his men well in hand and had dug a small trench and parapet and placed there twenty men with rifles trained on the exit from the German communication trench. It was at this spot, and at this moment that he fell. I asked Mr. Williams, the eye witness, if Mr. Morgan's height had not caused his head to be exposed. He said he thought not, as he himself is about as tall, and he saw him hit and fall, and immediately helped to carry him away. Mr. Williams believes that the particular spot where he fell was exposed to a German sniper, as others were picked off at the same point. He states that Lieut. Morgan was instantly killed, and did not move or speak after he was struck. I met a number of the 10th who were engaged in the fight and all were anxious to express their great admiration for his splendid courage, for they said it was from his encouragement and example, that they held on to the trench. He had the spirit that would not be denied, but stubbornly held his ground although given permission to retire his men. The company held the trenches until nightfall, when it and the whole battalion were relieved by another. The trench, thus heroically held at such cost by Mr. Morgan, was rebuilt, and may form a part of the new line now. These isolated advanced trenches, when taken by us from the enemy, are a veritable death trap as the Germans, in a spirit of retaliation, concentrate their artillery fire upon them, although they are sparing of their shells, in ordinary cases, except in case of attack. This habit of their's should have an influence on our future tactics, of which I cannot write.

. . .[Our citizens appreciate very much the efforts made by Capt. R. Robinson to ascertain the facts concerning how Lieut. Morgan met his death. The deceased officer's name will go down in history as amongst our greatest Canadian heroes who have given their lives for King and Country, and although the widow and children mourn the loss of a loving husband and father, it will always be a pleasure for them to remember that he died the death of the brave. - ED.]