Morgan, Samuel Valentine

Morgan, Samuel Valentine (Samuel)

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Lieutenant (Acting Captain)

2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Friday 10 August 1917 (aged 37)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 40)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Family grave headstone in Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery

Brother of Lieutenant John Joseph Leo Morgan


Samuel Valentine Morgan was born on 5 June 1880 in Church Street Newtownards and he was a son of the late Colour Sergeant John Morgan and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Morgan (nee Calwell, sometimes Caldwell, sometimes Colwell) who were married on 25 January 1880 in Newtownards Roman Catholic Church.  John Morgan (aged 21), a shoemaker from Newtownards was a son of John Morgan, a weaver.  Elizabeth Calwell (aged 20), a servant from Newtownards was a daughter of Samuel Calwell, a labourer.

Colour Sergeant John Morgan was Instructor of Musketry in the Royal North Downs, Newtownards – a position he held for some 23 years.  In civilian life he was a shoemaker and he and Elizabeth had at least nine children:

Samuel Valentine (born 5 June 1880 in Church Street Newtownards)

Mary Elizabeth Agatha (May, born 30 April 1882 in Ann Street, Newtownards; died 29 October 1951 in the USA)

John Joseph Leo (born 28 January 1884 in Ann Street, Newtownards)

Patrick (born prematurely 22 November 1885 in Ann Street, Newtownards; died of marasmus 9 February 1886)

Margaret Bridgetta Hermione (Jetty, born 20 October 1886 in Ann Street, Newtownards; died 18 March 1953 in the USA)

Robert Sydney (born 9 April 1889 in Ann Street, Newtownards; served in the Army; died 1967 in the USA)

Patrick Herbert (born 26 February 1891 in Victoria Avenue, Newtownards; served in the Army; died 23 January 1966 in Queensland, Australia)

Violet Robina Frances (born 3 August 1894 in Victoria Avenue, Newtownards)

Hannah Beatrice Josephine Winifred (Bea, born 16 April 1899 in Conway Square, Newtownards; died 18 November 1945)

Their father, Colour Sergeant John Morgan, died on 18 December 1904 (aged 45).

Their mother, Elizabeth Morgan, died on 19 July 1929.

Samuel Valentine Morgan was a career soldier.  He enlisted on 28 January 1896 as Boy No. 4717 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles as a Bugler.  He was appointed Lance Corporal on 1 June 1901, promoted Corporal on 1 October 1901, Lance Sergeant on 23 September 1902 and Sergeant on 4 January 1903.  He served as Orderly Room Sergeant with the Louth Rifles (6th Royal Irish Rifles Militia) and on 28 June 1908 he was posted to the 3rd Battalion, appointed Orderly Room Sergeant and promoted Colour-Sergeant, then Quartermaster Sergeant on 28 June 1911.  He was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal after 18 years of service.  He received his commission as Second Lieutenant on 1 October 1914 and at the same time was appointed acting Adjutant of the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles under Lieutenant Colonel W.E.C. McCammond.  When the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal was being presented, the officer performing the ceremony referred to Second Lieutenant Morgan as ‘a shining example to others who had joined the ranks’.  He pointed out that, ‘with ability, perseverance and a high sense of duty every soldier had the opportunity of receiving commissioned rank’.

Samuel Valentine Morgan was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 8 June 1915 and appointed Adjutant of the Battalion.  He held that position in Dublin and Belfast until the spring of 1917 when he went to the Front.  During the Easter Rising in 1916 his Battalion had been stationed in Portobello Barracks in Dublin.  Later he gave evidence before the Royal Commission which investigated the case surrounding Captain J.C. Bowen-Colthurst and the shooting of Messrs Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Patrick McIntyre and Thomas Dickson in the Barracks.

Lieutenant S.V. Morgan went to the Front in May 1917 and he joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  He was appointed to the rank of Acting-Captain with effect from 1 August 1917 and was killed in action ten days later.  During the week preceding his death at Westhoek on 10 August 1917 he experienced very heavy fighting and two days before his death a high explosive shell that burst close to him destroyed his revolver.  At first he was reported officially as having been wounded in action but a subsequent telegram from the War Office stated that he had died on the same day.

Samuel Valentine Morgan married Rose Gertrude Marquess on 21 August 1911 in the Roman Catholic Church of St Malachy in Belfast.  She had been Lady Principal of the Ann Street National School in Newtownards and they had two children – John Leo born on 6 August 1912 and Gertrude Elizabeth born on 23 January 1917.  The family lived at 9 Court Street, Belfast and subsequently moved to 3 Southwell Road, Bangor before going to Southampton.  Writing to Lieutenant S.V. Morgan’s widow, the Commanding Officer of the Battalion said that Lieutenant S.V. Morgan had been killed ‘while very gallantly leading his company in an attack’.  He said that Lieutenant Morgan had been shot through the head and his death was instantaneous.

Lieutenant Samuel Valentine Morgan was 37 when he died on 10 August 1917 and he has no known grave.  His widow, Rose, died on 22 September 1954 in Southampton, Hampshire, England.

Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Samuel Valentine Morgan is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and on the family grave headstone in Newtownards (Movilla Cemetery).

There can be little doubt that the deaths of two of her brothers, one of them so very recently, cast a shadow over the wedding of Margaret Bridgetta (Jetty) Hermione Morgan to Stewart Spencer Churchill Henry on 24 October 1917.  The wedding took place in Fountainville Presbyterian Church Belfast and the groom was the youngest son of the late William Henry, founder of the Newtownards Chronicle.  At the time of the wedding the bride’s mother lived at 24 St Alban’s Gardens, Belfast.  Stewart Spencer Churchill Henry died on 29 May 1922 in Donaghadee.