11785 Private Charles Matthew Morgan MM
NZEF Military Medal Group - Stretcher Bearer
The MM, BWM and VM group to Charles Matthew Morgan, Wellington Infantry Regiment, who was awarded the Military Medal for rescuing wounded men over a sustained period at La Basseville in July/August 1917.
Charles Morgan was born 11th December 1889 at Wanganui, New Zealand. Son of John Henry and Rose Anna Morgan (née Devaliant). At the time of his enlistment in the NZEF in January 1916 he was working as a commercial traveller for Nelson-based J.H. Cock and Co. Charles sailed with the 12th Reinforcements in March 1916, and joined 7th Wellington (West Coast) Company, 1st Battalion, Wellington Infantry Regiment in the field in September 1916. In July 1917 he transferred to the stretcher-bearer section of the battalion, and over the period 31st July - 1st August 1917 displayed the bravery that earned him the Military Medal (L.G. 28/09/1917): "At La Basseville on 31 July 1917, this stretcher bearer, after carrying wounded all day, moved forward with his company to the village that night. Throughout the next day in broad daylight he evacuated wounded from the front line over the open ground and under heavy shell fire. He dressed the last wounded man of his company in the open in La Basseville village under heavy shell fire and though exhausted by continuous work for two days and a night, with the assistance of another man he carried the wounded man out - a journey which took three hours. He showed throughout an example of the utmost courage and devotion to duty". Morgan suffered a gunshot wound whilst performing his heroic action on 1st August and evacuated to Boulogne. On his recovery he returned to his unit in late October 1917, but just a month later, on 1st December 1917 he is recorded as being wounded again. It appears he was actually blown up by a shell during a heavy bombardment. This did not actually wound him, but left him with severe concussion and 'shell shock'. He was evacuated to the UK and subsequently declared unfit for further service, and in May 1918 he embarked for New Zealand.
In 1921 Charles married Maggie Jane Leask, with whom he had at least two children. Charles Morgan died at Wanganui on 3rd December 1953 and was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.
All three medals are correctly impressed. MM (11785 Pte C. M. MORGAN. I / WELL: R.), BWM and VM (11785 Pte. C. M. MORGAN. N.Z.E.F.)