25 February 2017

An Essex Regiment regular incarcerated

Here's another recent eBay win, a postcard sent from Doberitz prisoner of war camp by 7186 Corporal Tom Morris of the 2nd Essex Regiment. The card was sent by Tom to an address in Felbridge, West Sussex; not his home address as my information notes that he was married and living at 29 Murchison Road, Leyton. The house still survives today, and in the Google image below, is the property on the right.

Tom's regimental number indicates that he must have joined the Essex Regiment in early October 1902 and therefore at a time when typical terms of enlistment were three years with the colours and nine years on the reserve. Unless he extended his service therefore, Tom would have been on the reserve when Britain went to war in August 1914, and for that matter may well have been on the reserve since October 1905,  He arrived overseas on the 22nd August 1914 and was captured, according to International Committee of the Red Cross documents, at St Quentin on the 29th August. His war bearing arms for King and Country therefore lasted for precisely one week before he was captured.

Corporal Morris was probably not repatriated until after the war. A document dating to 1918 when he was being held at Hameln indicates that he had pulmonary tuberculosis and this might explain why he had been interned previously at Leysin in Switzerland; a destination for British PoWs suffering from the disease.

Tom Morris appears to have survived the war as I could find no Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for him.  He was entitled to the 1914 Star (with clasp and roses) and British War and Victory Medals.

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