MORRISON, Robert Cecil
Regiment: 5th Bn Cheshire Regiment
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Died: 13 November 1916
Buried/ Memorial: Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuile, France
Chester Chronicle 25 November 1916
HOOLE CURATE KILLED IN ACTION
A GALLANT SOLDIER CLERGYMAN
“Deep sorrow was caused in Hoole on Tuesday by the news that the Rev. Robert Cecil Morrison, BA, formerly curate of All Saints Parish, staying at 67 Hoole Road, had been killed in action at the front.
Mr Morrison, who was 28 years of age, was a native of Kingstown, Dublin, taking his BA in 1913. He was a well-known athlete in his university days, being an international hockey player for Ireland. He also served 3 years in the Officers’ Training Corps of the University, and put in the usual period of camp training. Mr Morrison was ordained Deacon in 1914 and Priest in 1915, and came to All Saints, which was his first curacy, on Trinity Sunday of 1914. After the outbreak of war he heard the call that was being made to the young manhood of the country. As a clergyman he might have remained without criticism fulfilling his parochial duties, but once his conscience had decided upon the true course, it was not in his nature to choose an easier way of service, and he at last (though not as early as he himself would have wished) obtained his desire to be allowed to go and dedicate his manhood to fighting for his country against the foes of civilisation and righteousness. Having been allowed to relinquish his work in the parish, he departed at the beginning of the present year, with the consent and Godspeed of the vicar and other intimate friends to quality for a commission. Becoming a cadet in the OTC at Bristol, he put in three or four months there, obtained a 2nd Lieutenant’s commission in the Cheshire Regiment, and went to the front on October 10th. On the two Sundays before his departure he was back in Hoole, and the parishioners (who in the previous February, on his departure, had presented him with a silver communion set and a cheque in token of their esteem), were delighted “to have him again in their midst.” He fell in action on the 13th of November, having only been a month at the front.
He is deeply mourned by the people of Hoole, for he was genuinely loved. He was devoted to the duties of his calling, and his manly, kind-hearted nature made friends wherever he went. He will be warmly remembered by all who knew him, and especially by the sick and aged people of the parish, who will ever recall with grateful and heart-felt memories the time he ungrudgingly gave up to cheering their loneliness with his bright presence and helpful words. Even since he had gone from the parish he had sent postcards bearing kindly thoughts to some of the old people. It was a beautiful trait in his character that he thought of the pleasure these little remembrances would give, but it was in keeping with his unselfish life and his last sacrifice. He took a keen interest in the Band of Hope, and indeed in parochial work in every department, was a willing and energetic co-operator with an enthusiastic and vigorous vicar and would have made his mark, had he been spared, in the service of the church to which he had been ordained.”
VICAR OF HOOLE’S TRIBUTE
“The Rev. E. A. Pavitt, MA, (Vicar of All Saints’) pays the following tribute to his late curate in the parish magazine, which is just being issued:- “News has just come to hand as I write that the Rev. RC Morrison was killed in action on Monday, November 13th. To many of you, as to myself, this has come as a great shock, and is a source of very real personal sorrow. He left us in February last, and became 2nd Lieutenant RC Morrison, of the Cheshires.
“On Sunday, October 1st, he was in Hoole, and read evening prayer for me; and on the following Sunday evening – our harvest festival – he turned up quite unexpectedly just before the bell ceased, and to our great pleasure, again read service. He was then on his final leave. On Tuesday, October 10th, he crossed over to France, and was almost immediately in the trenches. In just under 5 months his “bit” was done, and one more promising life was cut off. I must not attempt to write of all that is in my heart. Let it suffice that the whole parish mourns his loss. He wrote me several times during his few weeks abroad, and pervading all his letters there was a deep seriousness and maturity of thought, and reflection which indicated that ripening of character which the terrible experiences of the battlefield might be expected to produce in a noble-minded young man.
“One thing we may rejoice to know from his own testimony – though we could never have doubted it – and that is that when he received his baptism of fire, and as he went about his hazardous duties, he was intensely conscious of the unseen Presence of his Lord ever near him. One letter described a little service he had held for his men in a dug-out, at which he spoke a few words in the name of Christ. This is a recollection which I for one will always treasure of his last days on earth, even while I try to think of him as having entered upon that service which is higher than any that earth can afford – that service in the nearer presence of the King, where they always see His face “and serve Him day and night in His temple”.
“On Sunday, December 3rd, we shall use morning prayer as a memorial service. In regard to that service, I may mention now, that when he resigned the curacy, he expressed a wish to present some new service books for the Holy Table, but anonymously. Later on, when settled at Oswestry, he sent me a cheque in fulfilment of his promise; but pressure of our National Mission work, and then subsequently the difficulty of getting the correct thing have delayed the consummation of his wish. I am given to understand that the books will be ready in time for December 3rd, and I propose to dedicate them in his memory, and to the glory of God, and the memorial service that day. They will be an abiding record of the ministry of a good soldier of Jesus Christ, who, being found “faithful unto death,” has most assuredly received “the crown of life”. There was one other wish of his concerning the parish, but I must not speak of it yet.”