Morgan, Frederick

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project
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Lance-Corporal Fred Morgan, Royal Marine Light Infantry. of H.M.S. Warrior, son of Mr. Thomas Morgan, Main Street, Bangor, who has just rejoined his ship after a short leave. had many stirring adventures to relate of the experiences of his ship's company since the war began. For some days previous to the declaration of war the British ships were at Alexandria, and it goes without saying that they were keeping a watchful eye on the Goeben and Breslau. On the 28th August,a letter dated 9th August was received by Mr. Morgan from his son in which be wrote ""We are at sea between Greece and Malta. coaling from a collier, and she is taking this letter back with her. As yet no harm has befallen me ar any of us here. We are waiting to see how Austria and Italy are going to place themselves. Only one ship here, a German ship called the Goeben, has more speed than our fleet. When she is put out of the way we will have little to fear from any."" The Goeben and Breslau, it will be remembered, escaped from Messina on 10th August. When the news was transmitted to the British ships the Admiral at once ran up the signal, ""Clear for action."" The British ships which lay in waiting were all inferior to the Goeben in size, armament, and speed. As a precautionary measure against fire from shells every article of wood was thrown overboard, and amongst these was a valuable armchair belonging to the captain of the Warrior, on which was marked his name and also that of the ship. And thereby hangs a tale. The Admiral outlined to the ships' crews the plan of attack. The enemy ships were expected after nightfall, but just before they hove in sight the flagship signalled not to attack. Whatever had happened it was a sad disappointment. The captain's armchair was picked up by a trawler, and taken to Fiume, the Hungarian port on the Adriatic. and placed in the museum there with a label attached, on which was printed. ""This is all that remains of the British cruiser Warrior."" The Austrian and German papers gave long accounts of the sinking of the ship, but a week or two afterwards she took part in the sinking of two Austrian cruisers and a torpedo boat in the Adriatic. She has since weathered many a tough gale, has come unscathed out of several tight corners, and is still afloat to help Britannia to rule the waves. After the battle in the Adriatic the Warrior sailed along the Palestine coast. South of Jaffa a force of Turks was located, and a party of marines and sailors were landed. They encountered the Turks, whom they defeated, making 300 prisoners. These were armed with rifles of the Maurer type and sword bayonets, one of which Lance-Corporal Morgan brought home as a trophy. The sword bears the inscription ""Mre. Imple. de St. Etienne. Aout. 1869"" (Miliitaire Imperial of St. Etienne, August, 1869). They were evidently used by the French in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, and subsequently sold to the Turks. The captured Turks were taken to Ismailia, and imprisoned there.

While waiting at Port Said for the Indian troops the whole of the crew of the Warrior (700) took part in a rifle shooting competition to determine the best shot in the ship, and after a severe test Corporal Morgan came out on top. There was a similar test for the most accurate distance finding, and after a long and exhaustive examination he obtained first place in that also. For the unique distinction of carrying off both honours, rarely won by the same person. the captain presented him with a handsome uniform. On the left arm is a badge with crossed rifles, surrounded by a star and encircled by a floral wreath. and on the right arm a badge with a star in gold. These badges are of course self-explanatory to all naval and military men. Either or both can only he won and worn by one man in each regiment or ships crew. It may be stated that before he joined the Navy about 7 years ago, Mr. Morgan gained a scholarship in the Belfast Technical Institute for general subjects. Like his father. he is also a noted swimmer and diver, and about 2 years ago he was recommended for the post of naval instructor in swimming at Devonport by some officers who knew him. At the time he was on his way to England from Hong Kong in the Hawke, which came to an untimely end in the North Sea on October 15. As a result of his success in these events he was appointed in the laying and sighting of big guns, and in addition was made a mine shooter. In a letter received , from the Warrior at Christmas, Corporal Morgan wrote.—"We left the Mediterranean and came north about six weeks ago. I am not permitted to tell where we are now, but we passed close to Bangor about a month ago. It is very cold here." From the Suez Canal to Iceland is somewhat of a contrast in mid-winter, and the Warrior has visited Iceland several times since the beginning of December. Indeed her restless activities give the lie to the German sneer that the British ships are skulking in their harbours. afraid to come out; for the Warrior was at sea even during all the furious gales of the past month, and had her stanchions and bulwarks started by the heavy seas she encountered, which necessitated her withdrawal to a shipyard for twelve days to get overhauled. She has again put out to sea, and her destination is—somewhere.

Belfast Weekly Telegraph 30 Jan 1915 via Spike Sheldon"