‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

THOMAS MORLEY
Age:22
Date of Death:08/05/1917
Rank:Private
Service No:59626
Regiment:The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Unit:14th Bn.
Cemetery:Karasouli Military Cemetery
Grave Ref:F.1320

photo courtesy of  Tony - his Scartho Road Cemetery website

Thomas Morley was born in Royton in 1895, the son of Martin and Mary. Martin was a labourer at a gas works, possibly the one at Higginshaw and was originally from County Mayo. Mary hailed from County Galway and was a widow when she married Martin in 1894. Thomas was the first of their two sons together, Joseph following some twelve years later. He had five older half siblings John, Robert, Winnifed, Mary and Annie Tierney. The 1901 census found the Morleys and Tierneys living at 117 Oldham Road and by 1911 they had moved to High Barn Farm. A later move to 8 John Street followed.
Thomas worked as a piecer at the Delta Mill and was a parishioner at St.Aidan's. He served there at the altar from a young age and was later the head clerk of the church. After the outbreak of war he found work in the munitions industry before his enlistment in early 1916. He was first a member of the Manchester Regiment but in January 1917 when he was sent overseas for active service it was to the King's Liverpool Regiment's 14th Battalion. The 14th had been out in Macedonia since November 1915 and had lost men both to the actions of their Bulgarian enemies and that of the hostile conditions. When Thomas joined them it was in the depths of a long bitter winter with the men sometimes camped in swampy valleys and other times practically clinging in rain and snow to the bare and rocky sides of hills. The conditions in which men held the front line in Macedonia where often worse than those which faced the troops of the Western Front.
Thomas and the Battalion spent time in and out of the front line and then with the opening of the Battle of Doiran on April 24th 1917 they found themselves in support - digging defences, providing carrying parties etc. On May 2nd the Battalion took over a section of the front line from the 9th King's Own and the following days saw a steady casualty toll from the Bulgarian artillery. On May 8th an attack by the British unit to the right of the 14th King's saw a heavy retaliatory bombardment all the way along the line and Thomas Morley and five others of the Battalion were killed.
About two weeks later Thomas' parents were informed of his death and the Oldham Chronicle reported that Father Cusack at St Aidan & Oswald's made touching reference to Thomas and paid a fitting tribute to the life he had lead. Thomas was also described as being very well known and highly respected in Royton.
The other men killed with Thomas that day were:

HARDY HARRY Private 13502 from Dublin                                        
NUTBROWN FRANK 30 Private 13408 from York                                    
SIMMONS GEORGE Private 19311 from Manchester                                        
SKILLICORN EDWARD 24 Serjeant 26807 from Douglas,Isle of Man                                    
TURTON THOMAS 23 2nd Lt.from Huyton,formerly private in 21st Bn.Royal Fusiliers   

Thomas' father Martin died in 1927 aged 62 and his mother Mary in 1942 aged 81. They are buried together in Royton Cemetery.