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museumtom

I need you help again lads and lassies.

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Theletterwriter

Although the lack of information does point to a bit of a mystery, I am not quite ready to give up on this yet. Is it possible for any members of the forum who have a specific interest in the Gordon Highlanders and the Inniskilling Fusiliers to access records for the 1914-1915 period to confirm, or otherwise, the names of the Morter father and son?

Douglas

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daggers

Look here Wilson, we are getting into the realms of fantasy....

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IPT

I don't know about you lads and lassies but I find this all very exciting. The pleasure of the chase type of thing.

I think Tom would have made a great Dr Watson,

"Quick, Tom. The game's afoot!"

"Ah jeez, Holmes. This is brilliant, isn't it?"

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Old Owl

I know there is a picture but can we be 100% certain that this is 2nd-Lt Stanley Holland Morter.

I am afraid that this is totally out of the question--simply because there never was a Stanley Holland Morter (or a Percy Holland Morter) or at least not serving or indeed killed with the units described.

As I said in a previous post, these must be fabricated names, but it is hard to see why someone would want to play such a game at a time when many families were suffering these sort of multiple family deaths in real terms--unless--perhaps someone was trying to create their own fabricated family tradgedy!!

I suspect that we may never know the truth :(

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IPT

I completely agree that there were no such people, let alone officers, let alone casualties. I think we've proven that they can't even be under different names of regiments. The mystery I would like to solve is why this has happened.

The clues we have got are Edinburgh, Southport and Cheshire (presumably Birkenhead). I'll be interested to hear what Kathy learns regarding the Edinburgh address. That is a very specific thing.

I would like to understand why the articles appeared where they did, and therefore match the apparently fabricated family story. Why Birkenhead Institute, why bother adding Southport when Birkenhead and Edinburgh have been established? Also, why the Irish Independent? Was that placed, or did they pick up on the Inniskilling connection from the Echo?

In terms of Birkenhead Institute, Stanley was only 19 and his schooldays were recent. Surely the old boys at the time would have been mystified? Their Roll of Honour gives the deaths by year, and their is no possible suspect on there.

I'd dearly love to know whether someone had to submit the name of Percy (but why not Stanley?) to the Southport memorial, of if this is just a result of the newspaper entry.

I was pondering along the lines of a sort of female Walter MItty, gaining financial support by sympathy, and I was even wondering if they were pseudonyms for German officer casualties. Other than that, I will have to continue believing that they were messages from German Intelligence.....

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Old Owl

I was pondering along the lines of a sort of female Walter MItty, gaining financial support by sympathy, and I was even wondering if they were pseudonyms for German officer casualties. Other than that, I will have to continue believing that they were messages from German Intelligence.....

Hmm, an interesting theory--have any other suspicious messages such as these been picked up before? Surely wouldn't it have been more damaging to report the names of famous soldiers or airmen as having beeen killed, rather than fabricating names of non-existent people?

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IPT

Well, I wasn't being completely serious, but the deaths of famous servicemen would have been reported anyway.

However, if Percy was an arms depot in Southport, and Stanley was ......

I would point out however Robert, that i've enjoyed a nice bottle of wine while watching Downton Abbey.

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daggers

Last squeeze of the lemon, as I could not remember seeing anyone's report of casualty lists in The Times. I have looked for Nov 1914 and June 1915 for Morter, and the only two to be listed were Other Ranks in regiments not relevant to this chase.

I think there was some sort of signal at the end of the only beagling event I have attended and whatever it was it should be sounded now. Going home, perhaps?

D

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archangel9

I had searched the Times casualty lists as in post #22 and then gave up. Why this hoax was perpetrated will probably always remain a mystery now but I suspect that person or persons unknown to us were quite satisfied with the success of their subterfuge!

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museumtom

Well what can I say lads and lassies? If the Cyber Bletchley Park crew on this forum cannot find these lads then they are unfindable entirely.

I wish to thank ye all for your interest and willingness to help, which makes all the difference when one come to a dead end and needs an uncluttered mind to re-evaluate the 'known facts.'

As usual you have all been most helpful and kind, thank you all again.

Regards.

Tom

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kathleen donaldson

I have put this on the back burner for now, but a friend of mine gave me another avenue to follow. Moneymaking scam. Could you post the article that was published in the Irish Newspaper, as I have copies of the Liverpool and Southport announcements but not that entry.

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Old Owl

I have put this on the back burner for now, but a friend of mine gave me another avenue to follow. Moneymaking scam. Could you post the article that was published in the Irish Newspaper, as I have copies of the Liverpool and Southport announcements but not that entry.

Now that would be extremely interesting if you could prove it--I do believe that even during WW1 some people were very clever at making money out of other people's sorrows.

A fascinating (possible) development. :thumbsup:

Watch this space :thumbsup:

Sherlock would have been extremely proud of you Watson!!

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kathleen donaldson

I have come across countless reports of woman claiming separation allowance for absent husbands and they weren't even married. I have seen one report of a woman who had about 10 ring papers for soldiers. So making money out of other peoples sympathy was not unusual. So makes a bit more sense.

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IPT

I did ponder this possibility in my above ramble in post #80, however the problem is that we haven't found Grace Morter, the potential beneficiary.

The Edinburgh address must hold the key.

Perhaps she got a few quid from the fake husband, so she invented a son?

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archangel9

A fake husband for profit of some sort sounds reasonable. As perhaps would be a fake son. How did life assurance work in those days?

But why the (fake?) picture of the son in the Liverpool Echo? If this was a scam of some sort surely the picture was an unnecessary risk.

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kathleen donaldson

I have put all articles relating to the Morter boys together and if you read through you see errors.

The obituary for the son says "Only child of" should this be son?

The article with the picture, the father is now referred to as Captain Stanley Morter. And it also states only son of perhaps this is why the picture had to go in. Also the 19th December 1914 was a Saturday and the 5th June 1915 was also a Saturday. I am awaiting the Education Officer of the Liverpool & S W Lancs who resides in Southport to get back to me. Also I am sending another email to Edinburgh.

I spend a lot of time extracting obituary notices for soldiers for the Liverpool & South West Lancs area and it shows the greedy side to WW1.

Liverpool Daily Post

Saturday 2nd January 1915

Killed in action

MORTER: December 19th killed in action in France aged 47 years, Captain Percy Holland Morter, Gordon Highlanders, the dearly devoted and beloved husband of Grace Morter, Mornington Gardens, Edinburgh. Late of Cheshire and Birkdale.

Liverpool Echo- 9th June 1915

MORTER- June 5th killed in action, aged 19 years, Second-Lieutenant Stanley Holland Morter serving with the Inniskilling Fusiliers, only child of the late Captain Percy Morter, Gordon Highlanders (also killed in action) and of Grace Morter, of 18, Mornington Gardens, Edinburgh.

Liverpool Echo-10th June 1915

Birkenhead Institute Old Boy

SECOND-LIEUTENANT S. H. MORTER

Our photograph is that of Second-Lieutenant Stanley Holland Morter, of the Inniskillen Fusiliers, only son of the late Captain Stanley Morter, who death in action we announced last night. He joined at the beginning of the war and was drafted to the front about three weeks ago. He was educated at Birkenhead Institute and formerly resided at Edinburgh.

If any one comes across any other obituary notices for Officer and soldiers killed and cant find the let me know I'm sure we will see a pattern.

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Old Owl

The obituary for the son says "Only child of" should this be son?

Hi Kathy,

No, I don't feel that this is strange, unless of course he had any siblings. The term 'only child' means just that, he would be the 'only son' if he had had a sister.

There are other inconsistences as you say, so I really do feel that you may be onto something here :thumbsup:

Robert

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jdoyle

the nearest I've come up with so far with Holland as a middle name and Grace as the name of the mother/wife is a lad called Victor Holland Mishellany born in Toxteth, Liverpool in 1895. Mother appears to be Grace Sarah Holland.

Downside is :

1. there's a twin brother (Albert James Mishellany)

2. the family appeared to be in London in 1911

3. the father is a Lebanese chap called Abraham (who seems to have died on the Titanic and is the subject of a print project). Married Grace Holland in New York in 1894. He appears to have used an alias at some point as well as the middle name Holland

4. no links to an address in Scotland or the names Percy or Morter

on the other hand, no sign of Victor or Albert Mishellany after 1911; Grace S H Mishellany died in 1943. In 1911 she was living in Ledbury Road, London; her name appears as Grace Ledbury Mishellany in a 1912 electoral register.

Could be (and probably is) a complete red herring but a Liverpool connection, Holland in the name, Grace as the mother/wife, odd use of names and a woman who might need to make a living with the death of her husband.......

An 1895/6 Liverpool born Albert James Holland enlisted in the South Irish Horse in Nenagh in 1917, gives his mother as Mrs Grace Sarah Holland with an address in London.

A Liverpool born Victor Holland enlisted in Nenagh with an address in London (SDGW). His CWGC entry gives his mother as Mrs Grace Holland.

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CGM

An Albert J M MISHELLANY married a Jane G M WEBB in 1935 in Portsmouth, Hampshire. His mother's death in 1943 was registered in Gosport, Hampshire.

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kathleen donaldson

Sorry to raise the ghost of the Morter men, but I'm sure you would like to see the reply I received from Edinburgh Archives:-



Edinburgh City Archives are not fortunate enough to have more than a few copies of local directories (and none for 1915-1916, 1916-1917 or 1917-1918) but I do know that comprehensive runs of the Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directories are held by the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection of Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh (e-mail central.edinburghandscottish.library@edinburgh.gov.uk - see also their website http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/libraries

I also believe that the National Archives of Scotland, Princes Street, Edinburgh have several sets; see their website at

http://www.nas.gov.uk/ and e-mail mailto:enquiries@nas.gov.uk

In addition both the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge Edinburgh (http://www.nls.uk/) and the British Library in London (please see their website at

http://www.bl.uk/ to access their catalogue and contact details) hold almost all of the local Edinburgh directories too.

Although I'm not aware that any of these institutions can undertake specific research If you can arrange it the National Library of Scotland has most usefully scanned and made available on-line most of these Edinburgh Directories so if you can mamange to successfully download them to your personal computer this could save a great deal of leg work.

I'm sorry I can't help directly but wish you better success in the other institutions.

I managed to look at the directories which go up to 1908. No Morter recorded

Dear Ms Donaldson,

Dear Kathy Donaldson,

What an extraordinary tale. I daresay such ruses were perpetrated but it is unusual for them to be unmasked so long after the event. One can only imagine the desperation which might have precipitated such a scheme; the consequences of being caught would surely have been severe and long lasting.

As it happens the Roll of Edinburgh First World War dead has never been published and although we are not the current custodians I shall do my best to see if those who do know of it can tell us if either of these fellows appear in it.

We are also just beginning to look at a project which might see the entire Edinburgh Parliamentary Electoral Roll made available on-line; quite possibly using a private sector provider and if that happens it may even be that one or other of the currently mythical Morters shall re-appear with greater substance.

In the meantime and because of the approaching Centenary of the commencement of the First World War I wonder if you might perhaps allow us to refer to this tale? I don't expect the story to be used but if it wasn't too much trouble can you let me know a few of the details? A note of the date and source of the Newspaper article and some indication of their notional relationship to the family would be fascinating.

Sincere thanks and regards,

Richard Hunter

I have sent a copy of the death announcement along with a link to the topic.

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slick63

Fascinating and frustrating at the same time :huh:

Reference the Southport memorial, would someone have had to make an application to have the name put on there ? Would a record of the application still exist ?

I can understand a financial scam or some kind of spook shenanigans during wartime, but why carry either on at the end of the war ?

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daggers

Kathy

You might be interested to know that your S.P. Morter commanded that unit for a time during WW1, when it was known as 4th West Lancs Howitzer Brigade, RFA, TF. He earned a DSO and the Territorial Decoration. I came across him in a short history of the unit, which is in the Liverpool Record Office.

I have not yet looked for any citation for the DSO.

D

The DSO was gazetted in New Year's Honours list.

D

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hazelclark

Kathy

You might be interested to know that your S.P. Morter commanded that unit for a time during WW1, when it was known as 4th West Lancs Howitzer Brigade, RFA, TF. He earned a DSO and the

Territorial Decoration. I came across him in a short history of the unit, which is in the Liverpool Record Office.

I have not yet looked for any citation for the DSO.

D

Curiouser and curiouser!!

H.C.

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