From Bank to Battlefield
Louis Henry Morris
Louis Morris enlisted in the 13th Light Horse Regiment on 20 March 1915 at the age of 35. This wasn't his first experience of war for he had begun his military career at the age of 19. From 1899 to 1902 he served with the South African Light Horse Regiment in the Boer War, for which he received the Queen's Medal with two bars and a promotion to Corporal.
Louis made the decision to once again enlist in the military 13 years later. In the intervening years he had progressed in his banking career to become manager of the Ballarat branch of the Commonwealth Bank and was happily married to his wife Ada. Prior to enlisting, Louis spent a month at the Officer School of Instruction in February 1915 before enrolling as a 2nd Lieutenant a month later.
Louis embarked from Melbourne with the 13th Light Horse in May 1915, bound for Egypt, where he spent the early months of 1916 and was involved in the defence of the Suez Canal. The 13th Light Horse was transferred to France in March 1916 where Louis faced the mud-filled fields of Western France. The static nature of trench warfare meant that mounted regiments could no longer perform their traditional reconnaissance role, instead he spent much of his time acting as support for the infantry divisions by carrying out traffic control, rear area security, and prisoner escorts.
One of the more active and mobile periods of fighting that Louis was involved in was in early 1918 during the German Spring Offensive. His regiment was transferred to Belgium at the beginning of March 1918, just before Germany launched Operation Michael, the first attack of the offensive. The 13th Light Horse was crucial in carrying out communication and reconnaissance missions as well as the evacuation of civilians in the face of heavy shelling and gas attacks.
Louis, now a Captain, was seconded to the Light Horse Training Deport in England in late April 1918. After helping to train members of the Light Horse at Tidworth Camp, Louis moved to the Commonwealth Bank to act as Manager at the Weymouth Branch in England, which had been set up for the convenience of the soldiers stationed in the area.
Louis was decommissioned in January 1920 and returned to his wife in Australia. The hard work and dedication that had seen him promoted to Captain during the war continued in his civilian life where he earned the position of Acting Inspector at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
|WWI Service Summary||20 March 1915, enlisted in 13th Light Horse Regiment, Australian Imperial Forces|
|28 May 1915, embarked on HMAT A34 Persic, Melbourne|
|21 January 1920, discharged|
|Age at enlistment||35 years|
|Role at Bank||Manager|
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