Rathfriland’s forgotten war hero will finally be remembered

On Saturday September 20 the people of Rathfriland will pause to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

In particular they will remember Rathfriland man George Morrow who died in the First World War. George was largely forgotten until his story was uncovered and now his own sacrifice will be remembered when his name is added to the Rathfriland war memorial.

Thomas Rowan Morrow

Thomas Rowan Morrow

The War Graves Committee has agreed George Morrow’s name is entitled to be listed as he died serving during the war and his illness was attributed as having been from his service.

Sadly, like many soldiers of the time George died on December 12, 1914 from what is believed to be an infection. The cold, wet and long days and nights sitting on a gun emplacement had taken its toll and George was buried in Port Glasgow Scotland in Grave H7 Grave 33.

Gunner George Morrow (Jr) was born in 1878 in the townland of Drumlough near Rathfriland.

George’s father was also called George and his mother Anna Morrow (nee Rowan). George (Jnr) was the oldest of six children with Waddell (1879), Sara and Susan (Twins 1880), Thomas (1881) and Agnus (1890).

George (Jr) went on to marry Isabella Kennedy who was originally from Conor, Co Antrim, the marriage took place in Ekenhead Presbyterian Church, Belfast on the April 8 1901 when he was a Grocer. Having decided to start a family their first child was Waddell and then Robert was born.

George and Isabella decided to move and make a home for their family in Greenock in Scotland circa 1906 after which further good news came along with the birth later of Thomas Rowan and finally Anne, but, the good news was not to last.

In 1914 at the start of World War One George was conscripted into the army and was stationed in Fort Matilda with No 1 Company, Clyde Battalion, The Royal Garrison Artillery as a gunner protecting the Clyde River and Port Glasgow from enemy attack, a very important and strategic task in that area.

George’s brother Waddell was married with one son and at the start of the war joined the North Irish Horse before transferring to the Canadian Regiment c1916 and served with them.

One of their famous battles was Vimy Ridge 9 - 12 April 1917, a battle which Waddell fought in.

His other brother Thomas had decided in 1912 to join his brother Waddell in Canada and acquired a ticket to travel on what is now known as the first and final voyage of RMS Titanic, a voyage which he sadly did not survive.