Morton, William John Edward
5th Battalion attached 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Sunday 5 September 1915 (aged 27)
No known grave
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 40)
Holywood and District War Memorial
North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque
William John Edward Morton was born on 9 January 1888 in Victoria Terrace, Holywood and he was a son of William and Annie Morton (nee Coulter) who were married on 7 June 1876 in Kilclief Parish Church of Ireland Church, Downpatrick. William Morton from Belfast was a son of Edward Morton, a farmer. Annie Coulter from Kilclief was a daughter of John Coulter, a farmer.
The Morton family lived in Victoria Street and then High Street, Holywood.
William Morton Senior (born in County Cavan) was a manufacturer’s agent and merchant selling cotton and linen goods. He and Annie had at least nine children:
Annie Elizabeth (born 24 April 1877 at 58 Castlereagh Street, Belfast; died 12 May 1877)
Elizabeth Helen (born 24 October 1878 at 58 Castlereagh Street, Belfast)
Annie Margaret (born 29 August 1880 in Cyprus Cottage, Castlereagh, Belfast; died of whooping cough 26 September 1880)
Charlotte Jane (born 28 August 1881 in Ballymaconaghy)
Annie (born 20 October 1883 in Ballymaconaghy)
Margaret (born 22 November 1885 at 9 Fitzroy Avenue, Belfast)
William John Edward (born 9 January 1888 in Victoria Terrace, Holywood)
Thomas Matthew (born 29 August 1890 in Victoria Road, Holywood)
James Alfred (born 21 April 1893 in Victoria Place, Holywood)
In the annals of Sullivan Upper School Holywood it is recorded that William John Edward Morton was educated at Mr Hodges’ school from 1899 to 1902. After leaving school he worked in his father’s business as a manufacturer’s agent for cotton and linen goods and he lived at 26 Fountain Street, Belfast.
William John Edward Morton played rugby for the North of Ireland Football Club (founded in 1868 by members of the North of Ireland Cricket Club; merged with Collegians in 1999 to form Belfast Harlequins) and he was a member of the 1909/1910 team that won the Charity Cup.
He applied for a commission in August 1914 and was gazetted to the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in May 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in August 1915. His brother, Captain Thomas Matthew Morton, was Adjutant of the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Holywood.
Lieutenant William John Edward Morton was 27 when he was killed by shell fire at Hooge on 5 September 1915. Probate of his will was granted to his father and in these papers his address was recorded as late of Hollydene, Holywood.
Lieutenant William John Edward Morton has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium; on Holywood and District War Memorial and on the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque.
[The North of Ireland Football Club (members played Rugby Football as opposed to Soccer) was founded by members of the North of Ireland Cricket Club and the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque commemorates members of both Clubs. Members of the Football Club were also members of the Cricket Club but not all members of the Cricket Club were members of the Football Club.]