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Military Medal of a Dunkirk Hero

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posted on 2024-06-05, 16:50 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

I've brought in my dad's medals - his name was G. E. Morris. He joined the 1st Loyals regiment in Preston at the age of sixteen and ended up Company Sergeant Major by the end of the war.

He ran away from home at the age of sixteen and joined the Army several years before the Second World War started. He was posted to India and served on the Northwest Frontier. He told us a story of when he was struggling up the Khyber Pass as a young man, two old sweats grabbed either side of him and physically lifted him up. He served in Palestine and the Middle East after India. Before the war he was the All Palestine Boxing champion in the army and also a swimming champion.

At the outbreak of war, the 1st Loyals were part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) sent to Belgium. When the Germans invaded and during the retreat to Dunkirk, my father's unit was cut off behind enemy lines. He was mentioned in Dispatches twice for commandeering a motorbike and going through enemy lines to bring a message from his unit to Dunkirk and then volunteered to go back to his mates through the German lines again. For this, he won the Military Medal.

His unit came under frequent Stuka attacks at Abbeville, and he was injured below his waist. He was brought out to Dunkirk, but his injuries were so bad that one of the medics said that he was a goner and should be put on one of the Death Boats for the evacuation. On hearing this, my father sat up (he couldn't use his legs) and said, "I'll be a goner after you're gone!".
He went through various hospitals after that, convalescing and attending to his serious injuries. After the war, he joined the Royal British Legion and was a lifelong member. He visited the region of France near to Dunkirk where he was stationed a few times and met the Mayor of Dupan(?).

My Mum and Dad lived in one of the regimental cottages in Preston until he died. They looked after him very well. I'm very proud of him and his medals.

History

Item list and details

1. Campaign medals and Military Medal

Person the story/items relate to

G. E. Morris

Person who shared the story/items

Anon

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Father

Type of submission

Shared at Great Missenden Library, Buckinghamshire on 30 September 2023.

Record ID

96116 | GRE018