Alexander MORGAN
Rank: Sergeant
Number: M1/07058
Unit: attached 95th Field Ambulance ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
Date of Death: 23 March 1918
Cemetery: Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, France

Alec’s connection with the Marple area seems to have been through his work and the village was not his permanent home. He was born in the Ardwick district of Manchester and army records published after the War give Shoreham in Sussex as his home town.

He worked as a chauffeur to a local man and was hurriedly enlisted into the army in the autumn of 1914 when the need for drivers became extremely urgent. Almost within days, he will have found himself on the Western Front driving a transport wagon. It would appear that, at some point, he was attached to the Field Ambulance, possibly as a sergeant in charge of a small convoy of ambulances. The Field Ambulance operated vehicles in the sense that we would understand a modern ambulance service but it undertook further vital roles in the casualty evacuation chain. It would provide relays of stretchers bearers bringing men from their regimental aid posts to an advanced dressing station (ADS), for which they were also responsible. At the ADS would be a couple of doctors and several orderlies who would undertake any absolutely urgent treatment to stabilise a man’s condition before he could be further evacuated to a field hospital perhaps 20 miles behind the front line.

On 22 March 1918, a major German offensive was just 24 hours old and already had had major success in driving the British back. In preparation for further casualties, 95th Field Ambulance moved to near the village of Blairville and also set up and ADS at nearby Hamelincourt. The next day, the ADS came within range of the German artillery and there were a number of casualties. Two officers, five NCOs and two other ranks were killed outright and a further two NCOs and 2 others were wounded. Although the army records mentioned earlier indicate that Alec died of wounds , rather than being killed outright, he is believed to have been amongst the five NCOs recorded as being killed. The nine men were buried at Blairville on the 25th. After the War, many of these small front line burial areas were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. In the early 1920s, the bodies of Alec and his comrades moved to Souchez, where their graves are now tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Further information about Alec can be found in the book “Remembered” by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

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