Derry Pilot Officer’s Death – Tribute by Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A. …
“At the morning service of Great James Street Presbyterian Church, Londonderry, on Sunday, Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A., recalled that on Remembrance Sunday Mr. S. Morrison, accompanied by Captain Sir James Wilton, M.C., had laid the wreath on the War Memorial of the congregation. We were unaware then” he said. ‘that just a few hours before that very moment his son, Pilot Officer Cecil Morrison, had given his life on service in the Middle East. …”
Samuel Cecil Morrison, known as Cecil, was the first son of Samuel Morrison and Charlotte Rebecca Wilson (Cissy) and the eldest of six children. He was born on 22 Jun 1920 on Creggan Road in Londonderry, and was baptized in Great James Street Presbyterian Church where his family worshipped and his father Samuel was a Scout Leader.
During the Second World War, Cecil joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve circa 1940 when he traveled to California, USA to start training for the Royal Air Force. On May 27, 1942 records reveal that he was joined in Holy Matrimony to Margaret (Betty) Elizabeth Barclay at Runcorn, Cheshire, England. Known as Betty, she too was serving her country during World War II.
“… A few hours afterwards official communication came that Cecil Morrison had been killed. On Sunday that first communication was confirmed when the Chaplain at Malta wrote to his young wife, telling her how the last offices were performed in a little cemetery there.
‘We wish this morning to express our sympathy to his young wife, to his father and mother, and to the members of the family,” said Rev. Mr. Donaldson, who added that he knew Cecil Morrison for almost two years after he came to Great James Street Church. He was a member of their Christian Endeavour Society, a teacher in the school, and a young fellow who promised well as far as the Church and the Kingdom of God was concerned.’
That day they as a congregation sorrowed. Although they had been in the fourth year of war and although they had 70 and 80 members on active service, that was the first son of that congregation to fall in this war. They remembered Cecil Morrison with gratitude to God for his interest in the work of that Church as a young man growing up in the midst of them. On entering the Service, he speedily won promotions and just before he was killed it was intimated that further promotion was shortly to be given to him. ‘He has now been promoted to a place of honour and to higher service,’ Mr. Donaldson concluded.”
The congregation bowed in silent prayer for a short period.”
An excerpt from the Morrison/Wilson Family Bible penned by his mother, and my great aunt, Cissy read “F/O. S.C. Morrison died on Active Service 1942. Laid to rest in Malta 11th 1942. God makes no mistakes, He knew the way others would have to tread; and took him in his manhood to be with him forever. Safe from this worlds mire.”
May He Rest In Peace!