Lois Dean, a volunteer in Bolton, has written and researched this life story of a local man. Can anyone fill in the gaps?

What Was Morris Heaton’s War Story?


Heaton Peace Certcomp

The loyal service of a Horwich man during the First World War is recalled in the archives of Bolton History Centre.

A commission certificate appointing Morris Heaton a Second Lieutenant (Special Reserve of Officers) in the Royal Garrison Artillery in October 1917 and signed by King George V commends his ‘Loyalty, Courage and good Conduct’.

Second Lieutenant Heaton survived the conflict. Accompanying the certificate is another, presented to him as part of the local peace celebrations by Horwich Urban District Council, honouring his war service. It is signed by all the members of the Council’s Peace Committee and the Committee Clerk, William Carter.

Sadly, neither document reveals the full story of Morris Heaton’s war – the battles he fought in, or the acts of courage that led to his officer commission.  Did he ever share his memories with family and friends?

What we do know is that Moses Morris Heaton was born in Withnell, Lancashire in 1888, the only son of William and Jane (nee Morris) and that he was named Moses after his maternal grandfather, Moses Morris. He had a sister Alice, born about 1901.

The early years of the 1900s saw the family living in Horwich, where William was a loco engine fitter at the Horwich Loco Works. By 1911, Morris is also working, as an assistant surveyor with the local council.  Shortly after the outbreak of war, Morris joined the Royal Engineers as a sapper, later transferring to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

After the war, Morris married Ethel Price at St Catherine’s church, Horwich, in 1921. At some point the couple moved to Manchester New Road, Alkrington, Manchester and remained there until Morris’s death on 19 January 1965.

Archive Ref ZZ/740 World War 1 certificates of Morris Heaton of Horwich.

Lois Dean