Dr. Edward Walter MORRIS

MORRIS, Edward Walter

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 27 April 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Sea Transport Staff
Born: Reading, England, 25 December 1863
Home Town: Semaphore, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Reading, St Thomas' Hospital, London, England
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Natural causes, Adelaide, South Australia, 17 May 1942, aged 78 years
Cemetery: North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth, S.A.
Dr. Morris was cremated at West Terrace Cemetery, and his cremains interred at North Road Cemetery
Memorials: Port Adelaide Orpheus Society Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

27 Apr 1915: Enlisted Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), SN Officer, 1st Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, Adelaide, South Australia
4 Jun 1915: Involvement Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), Staff Surgeon, 1st Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
4 Jun 1915: Embarked Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), Staff Surgeon, 1st Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, HMAT Port Macquarie, Melbourne
30 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, Sea Transport Staff, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
30 Jul 1918: Embarked AIF WW1, Major, Sea Transport Staff, SS Gaika, Sydney
10 Oct 1921: Discharged AIF WW1, Major, Sea Transport Staff, Discharged in England


Dr. E. W. Morris, who for the past six years has been chief medical officer at Australia House, London, returned to South Australia on Sunday by the Orsova. He slated that he would not be likely to engage in general practice again although his plans for the future are indefinite. At all events, he intended to remain permanently in this State.

'Before I took over my duties as chief medical officer at 'Australia House,' he said, 'I was stationed at the London headquarters as the medical officer of the Board of Survey and Filing of Transport of the A.I.F., until all the officers and men returned from the front. My predecessor at Australia House (Colonel W.P. Morris) wishing to be relieved of his duties, I decided to remain in England to carry on as it suited me for family reasons. I found the work interesting, even.in face of adverse criticism. Unfortunately, I discovered during my six years' term at Australia House, that practical migration does not appeal to the South Australian Government. With the exception of one or two artisans, no applications were received for migrants for South Australia during that time, all those who have reached the State having been nominated by friends or relations. The Government are doing nothing.'

Dr. Morris, who has always been a lover of sport, said as opportunity offered he was present at many of the big race meetings in England. In the management of race meetings, Australia had nothing to learn from the old country, and from the point of view of the general convenience of the public Australian courses stood alone. The more modern English courses, such as Sandown Park and Newbury, were exceptions. The aristocratic thoroughbreds of England, he thought, were of a leaner type than those he saw racing in Australia before the war, and certainly were speedier over a short course. Australian horses, however, displayed greater stamina. Of the older horses, Solario was the best he had seen in England, and Coronach stood head and shoulders above the three-year-olds.

The cricket tests had been most disappointing from the point of view of the public, many of whom had booked seats and hotel quarters in advance in order to witness matches which either did not take place at all, or lasted only a few hours. Dr. Morris was accompanied by his wife and daughter. He said his elder son, Tom, had recently graduated in medicine and hoped when he had qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, to practise in South Australia.

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Biography contributed by Annette Summers

MORRIS Edward Walter MRCS (Eng) LRCP (Lond)

LSA (Lond)


Edward Walter Morris was born at Reading, England on 25th December 1863. He was the son of Edward Morris, a draper, and his wife Kate. He had moved away from home and was a draper’s apprentice, age 17 years living in Windsor, Berkshire in 1881. There is no confirmation as to when he and/or family moved to Adelaide but he did study medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital, London with qualifications in 1888 and 1889. He married Dora Anne Jacobsen in 1889 at Semaphore, South Australia and is recorded as a medical practitioner in St Vincent’s Street, Port Adelaide in 1893. He was appointed assistant health officer Port Pirie in 1901. He appears as lieutenant and staff surgeon in the lists of the CNF (Citizen Naval Force) South Australia and the RANR from 1907 as the District Naval Medical Officer with his superior being Fleet Surgeon Bedlington Howell Morris. Morris, was confirmed as a member of the South Australian Medical Board in March 1915.

Morris is unusual in that during WW1 he served in two arms of the Defence Force, the Navy and Army, two enlistments in the AIF and in three styles of deployment.  He served as a staff surgeon on the little known Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train (RANBT) at Gallipoli from 26th April 1915. The RANBT was the most highly decorated Royal Australian Navy unit during WWI.  The RANBT was formed in Melbourne on 28 February 1915 and was manned by Reservists. Three hundred Naval Reservists were selected for the RANBT and began training in horsemanship, engineering and pontoon bridging at the Domain in Melbourne. They left Melbourne on 4th June 1915;  once deployed they acted as an engineering unit to support the British landings at Suvla Bay to the north of ANZAC Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula. During this time they were to be under British command and control.  Morris was transferred to the 5th Field Company Australian Engineers for 6 months from March 1916. He was struck off strength in November 1916. He returned to Australia. At the age of 54 years he was deemed “permanently unfit for Active Service” for dental fractures which were not service related in February 1917.  Morris again applied for enlistment after 12 months and was accepted as captain in the AAMC for duty at the Mitcham Army Camp and the 7th AGH at Keswick. He was 5ft. 10ins, 178lbs, of fair complexion, grey eyes and red hair. His wife of Hall St, Semaphore was named as his next of kin care of Mrs Claridge of 97 Jeffcott St, North Adelaide He was promoted to major in July 1918 and was appointed to the 5th Sea Transport Section. Whilst in England from late 1919 he performed AIF duty at Australia House later posted as SMO at AIF HQ when ADMS Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Wibmer Jefferies returned to Australia. His AIF appointment was terminated in London on the 10th October 1921. He was issued with the 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Morris was appointed chief medical officer Australia House, London from Sept 1921 until July 1926. In that period he remained on the navy list as commander, RANR. On return to civilian life in Adelaide the Morris family was prominent in social life with children, reunions, weddings and Morris’ appointment to executive positions with the Navy League 1930 to 1937 and the South Australian branch of the Royal British Nurses' Association.  Edward Walter Morris of Grant Avenue Toorak died 17th May 1942. He was survived by his wife and two sons and a daughter.


Blood, Sweat and Fears: Medical Practitioners and Medical Students of South Australia, who Served in World War 1. 

Verco, Summers, Swain, Jelly. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2014. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD