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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 23290
9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Who died on Wednesday, 9th August 1915

No Known Grave
Panel 150-152
Helles "Memorial to the Missing", Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Helles Memorial

Helles "Memorial to the Missing", Gallipoli1

Morris Edward Pass Morris Edward Pass was born in Stapleford in 1892, the youngest son of Joseph and Harriett (née Collins). Joseph worked as a lace maker, having moved his family - Caroline, Joseph, Harriett, George Frederick and Morris Edward - to Beeston before 1901, when they are to be found living at 14 Union Street2. In the next ten years, their two daughters married and Morris and his oldest brother Joseph had also moved away from their parents' home - by then at 7 Vernon Avenue, Beeston - to board with his oldest sister Caroline - who had married Frederick Thomas Sugden in 1901 - at 12 Middle Street, Beeston3.

Each of the three brothers followed their father into the lace trade, starting as threaders, after leaving school, but, when war came, they each put this on hold to enlist. Morris Edward responded to the call at the very beginning of the War, enlisting in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was then transferred to the Royal Marines Light Infantry at Plymouth on 16 September 1914 before finally being transferred to the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on 17th February 19154.

The 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment had been formed at Derby on 24th August 1914 and it was to be joined by many from Beeston, particularly those who joined-up as 'pals' from the local Boys' Brigade in the early days of the War. After initial training in England,the battalion became part of the 33rd Brigade, 11th Division and, after further training at Frensham, Surrey, the battalion entrained at Farnham for Liverpool on the 30th June 19155. Thus it was that, on the 1st July 1915, Private Pass sailed with the rest of the battalion on the "Empress of Britain".

The Battalion was being sent to support the Gallipoli campaign which had been mounted, originally as a naval operation, earlier that year. It had been hoped that achieving its objective of capturing Constantinople would enable the Allies to link with the Russians, force Turkey out of the War and encourage the Balkan states to join the Allies. It was also hoped that another front would take some of the pressure from France and Belgium where operations and become bogged down and very costly in lives. However, the naval attack in February had been a disaster, with the loss of three battleships and three others badly damaged and, when military support was brought in, it too suffered heavy losses - not least, amongst the Anzac troops who were able to establish a bridgehead at what became known as "Anzac Cove". British troops struggled to establish themselves and the costly deadlock led directly to a political crisis in London, the resignation of the First Sea Lord, the Liberal government replaced by a coalition and Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, took much of the blame.

This then was the situation ahead of the Battalion when it arrived at Malta on the 8th July, sailed for Egypt on the 11th and arrived at Alexandra the next day. On the 16th the Battalion continued on to the Greek island of Lemnos, arriving there on the 18th at Mudros harbour, which had been taken over by the British to service the Gallipoli campaign. Two days later, on the 20th of July, it sailed for Gallipoli on HMT El Kahirah, landing on Cape Helles, during the early hours of the 21st. During the afternoon, the Battalion moved forward to reserve trenches before relieving other battalions in the firing line and the troops occupying themselves in improving the positions and opening new communication trenches. It was here that the Battalion suffered its first casualty when on the 24th, Major G R Fielding was killed by a sniper6.

Before leaving for the front, Morris had become engaged to Ann Willows, then a 23 year-old lace mender who lived in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. Ann appears alongside him in the photograph shown above. In his last letter to her, he had told her that he had met "T Elliott and several other Beeston boys" out in Gallipoli. He continued, "I should like to spend an hour or two down the river fishing. There are all sorts of people to meet out here. The Indian troops look fine. Au revoir". These were to be his final words to her.7.

On the 1st August, the Battalion was relieved by French troops and sailed on the "Osmanieh" for Imbros on the same night and landed at Suvla Bay on the 6th of August and dug in. Tragically, the Suvla Bay operations were badly commanded, met a determined and well prepared enemy in difficult terrain and soon become another costly failure, 9th Battalion moved forward during night of the 7th/8th to Hill 50 and attacked Ismail Oglu Tepe on the 9th, It was during this attack that the Battalion suffered heavy losses. 8 Officers and 150 men were killed or missing, and was reduced to about 300, many of them wounded. Many of these casualties, including at least seven of the dead, were from Beeston.

Private Morris Edward Pass was one of those who fell and whose body was never identified. He, is amongst 20,878 Allied servicemen who are commemorated on the Helles Memorial who fell during the Gallipoli campaign and have no known grave. It stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula and takes the form of an obelisk, 30 metres high, that can be seen by ships passing through the Dardanelles.

1The photograph of the Helles "Memorial to the Missing"is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
21901 Census : Piece 3153 Folio 106 - 14 Union St, Beeston, Notts
3In 1911, Morris is boarding with his sister Caroline and her husband Frederick Thomas Sugden, a cabinet maker at the Telephone Works, at 12 Middle Street, Beeston, Notts (Piece 1223 RD429 SD3 ED7 Sched 6)
Joseph & Harriett are with their son George at 7 Vernon Avenue, Beeston, Notts (Piece 1223 RD429 SD3 ED1 Sched 269)
Harriett died in 1929, aged 66. Joseph died in 1949, aged 88.
4Details of his service history are in The Jack Clegg Memorial Database of Royal Naval Division Casualties of The Great War (compiled by Jack Marshall, available on ancestry.com)
5The accounts of 9th Battalion's formation, early training, journey to the Gallipoli and operations there, are based on "British Battalions in Gallipoli" by Ray Westlake, published by Leo Cooper (ISBN 0 85052 511 X)
6Major Fielding, aged 33, was the son of the Rev. G. H. Fielding, of Knill, Herefordshire and husband of Evelyn Fielding, of Bon Accueil, Chateau D'dex, Switzerland, He is buried in Skew Bridge Cemetery in Gallipoli.
7The photograph of Morris and Ann and the quotation from his final letter, appeared in the Beeston Gazette & Echo in September 1915.
Anne told the reporter that earlier she had been formally engaged to a Private Adcock, of Chilwell, who fell in the early stages of the war (possibly William Adcock who was killed on 23 October 1914), but the betrothal had been broken off during Adcock's term of service in India several years ago.
In 1911, Anne was living with her parents (William, a gardener's labourer and Emma) at High Road, Chilwell (Piece 1244 RD4 SD4 ED1 Sched 120)
It does appear that Ann did marry, to Thomas Crouch at the end of 1918 and died locally at the age of 84, in 1975
We are grateful to Jill Allsop-Martin, a great-niece of Morris Edward Pass, for her help in the preparation of this memorial.
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