William Morgan

William Morgan

1st/5th (Buchan and Formartin) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

Died 5 April 1917 age 36

Private W. Morgan – Gordon Hrs

William Morgan was born at Newton of Drumgesk, Aboyne on 30 October 1880. His father John Morgan, a farmer of 70 acres, and mother Margaret Coutts had married there in 1879.  The family were at Newton of Drumgesk on census night 1881; William was 5 months old and had a brother James aged 1 last birthday. Ten years later they were at Tillyduke, Coull, by which time William had five younger siblings. In 1911, John Morgan was established as the farmer of Lower Dagie at Tornaveen, and William now aged 30 was part of the household along with his mother and five brothers and sisters. 

In May 1916 he was still at Lower Dagie with his parents, as appears from a newspaper report about Lord Roberts’ Fund for Indian Troops, to which William and his parents contributed. Newspaper evidence suggests he joined up shortly after that. He enlisted at Banchory and became a Private in the 1st/5th Bn Gordon Highlanders (No.242204).

The 1st/5th Gordon Highlanders as part of the 152nd Brigade of the famous 51st (Highland) Division were preparing to engage in the Battle of Arras which began on Easter Monday 9 April 1917 and continued to 16 May – a diversionary tactic designed to draw German troops away from major points of attack on their front line at the beginning of the spring offensive of 1917 which it was hoped would bring the war to a swift conclusion. The formal commencement of the engagement was preceded by four days of intensive bombardment. 

Private Morgan was 36 when he died of wounds on 5 April 1917. It is not clear exactly when, or in what circumstances, he was wounded. He is buried at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension. 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Register of births
Censuses 1881 – 1911
Online sources re Battle of Arras
National Archives – War Diary of the 1st/5th Gordon Highlanders WO95/2882/1
Aberdeen Evening Express 13 May 1916 – Lord Roberts’ Fund
Aberdeen Evening Express 17 June 1916 – unkind account of his appearance before Sheriff after failure to respond to call-up papers suggests among other things possible religious objection.