Poppy Kenneth Irvine Thomson MORLAND (1884–1916) Poppy

Kenneth Irvine Thomson Morland was born in Abingdon (then in Berkshire) in 1884, the son of Edward Morland (born in Wootton, near Woodstock, registered in the first quarter of 1842), the Managing Director of Morland Brewery. His mother was Ethel Florence Thomson (born at the Cape of Good Hope in c.1859).

His parents were married at St Mary Magdalen Church in Paddington on 13 July 1881 and had five children:

  • Walter Edward Thomson Morland (born at Ock Lea, Abingdon on 27 June 1882 and baptised at St Helen’s Church on 17 August)
  • Kenneth Irvine Thomson Morland (born at Ock Lea, Abingdon and privately baptised on 24 April 1884 and received into St Helen’s Church on 27 June)
  • Edna Margaritha Morland (born at Ock Lea, Abingdon on 22 May 1885 and baptised at St Helen’s Church on 2 June)
  • Phyllis Mary Thornhill Morland (born at The Abbey, Abingdon on 28 February 1888 and baptised at St Helen’s Church on 7 April)
  • Denys Max Thomson Morland (born at The Abbey, Abingdon 13 August 1892 and baptised at St Helen’s Church on 12 September).

Until at least 1885 Kenneth’s parents lived at Ock Lea, Abingdon, the old brewer’s house that had belonged to the former Eagle Brewery; but by 1888 the family had moved to The Abbey in Abingdon.

At the time of the 1891 census Kenneth (6) was living at The Abbey with his father Edward (49), who was described as both a Justice of the Peace for the County of Berkshire and the Managing Director of Morland's Breweries, his mother Ethel (31), and his siblings Walter (8), Edna (5), and Phyllis (3). The family had six servants (a cook, nurse, parlourmaid, kitchenmaid, and two housemaids).

Kenneth’s father Edward Morland was described as being of The Abbey in Abingdon when he died at West Ilsley at the age of 52 on 12 July 1894. He was buried at West Ilsley on 17 July. His effects came to £36,007 3s. 4d., and his executors were his wife and the solicitor John Thornhill Morland.

Kenneth was educated at The Grange in Folkestone and then at Haileybury, where he was boarding at the time of the 1901 census at the age of 16. His family home was then at West Ilsley House, where his widowed mother Ethel (41) spent census night with three of her children: Edna (15), Phyllis (13), and Denys (8). The family had seven servants (a governess, cook, nurse, parlour maid, housemaid, kitchenmaid, and garden boy). Kenneth's older brother Walter (18) was now a student at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.

Two years later in 1903 Kenneth left Haileybury and went up to Oriel College, Oxford, where he later obtained his degree.

From 1908 to 1915 Kenneth was as a tea planter in Ceylon: he worked as an assistant manager with the Sapumalkande Company.

Kenneth was probably in Ceylon at the time of the 1911 census. His widowed mother Ethel (51) was then living in a 14-roomed house in Cheltenham Road, Painswick, Gloucestershire with her unmarried sisters Yda and Elsie Thompson and her daughter Phyllis (23), plus five servants (a cook, parlourmaid, housemaid, and two lady's maids). Her daughter Edna (25) was paying a visit to the family of Benjamin Henry Morland and his three unmarried sisters who lived in the 14-roomed Sheepstead House near Abingdon, and her son Denys (19) was a private pupil boarding with the Revd Edward Denison Lear at Mells Rectory, near Frome, Somerset.

In about 1917 Kenneth’s mother moved to Staverton House, 104 Woodstock Road in St Margaret’s parish (which until then had been the home of the Bridson family, who also lost two sons in the war).

Poppy In the First World War Kenneth Irvine Thomson Morland voluntarily enlisted in 1915 and served as a Second Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action near Guillemont in France at the age of 32 on 3 September 1916, and is buried at the Guillemont Road Cemetery (Special Memorial 3). His family paid for the additional inscription A MAN GREATLY BELOVED / JESU MERCY on his headstone.

In England, he is remembered on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford; on the memorial in Holy Trinity Church, Hawley Hampshire; and on the roll of honour of Oriel College (below).

Morland in Oriel College

He was also added as an afterthought on the memorial in St Helen's Church, Abingdon (below), but is not on the town war memorial.

Morland on St Helen's Church memorial

Morland Hill Club memorial


Morland is also remembered on a board in the Club House of the Hill Club in Nuwera Eliya, Sri Lanka (right).


This gentlemen's club was established in 1876 by British coffee planters in the hill station of Nuwara Eliya. The club house itself is shown below:

Morland: Club house

Administration was granted in London to Morland's widowed mother, Ethel Florence Morland, on 22 February 1917. He left £2,234 18s. 10d.

His obituary in the Oxford Chronicle of 22 September 1916 is shown below:

Obituary of Kenneth Morland

His two brothers also fought in the war and survived:

  • Walter Edward Thomson Morland, a Captain in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was the Aide de Campe to Major General Sir Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend and was captured with him at Kut el Amara, Mesopotamia in 1916. He was a awarded the Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order.
  • Denys Max Thomson Morland was gazetted Second Lieutenant with the 2nd London Divisional Engineers on 5 August 1914, and rose to be a Major. (See illustration of him making prisoners of eighteen Germans in a mine at Givenchy, France in the Battle of Festubert in May 1915).

St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Kenneth’s widowed mother and her daughters
  • Mrs Ethel Florence Morland died at Staverton House, 104 Woodstock Road, Oxford on 4 April 1951 and was buried at West Ilsley. Her effects came to £45,395 13s. 5d., and her executors were her insurance company and her unmarried daughter Edna. The Misses Morland were listed there at that address in Kelly’s Directory for 1952 only.
    Miss Edna Margaritha Morland
    died in 1972 at the age of 87 and
    Miss Phyllis Mary Thornhill Morland died on 8 July 1975 at the age of 88.
    Both were buried at Chain Hill Municipal Cemetery, Wantage.
Kenneth’s two brothers
  • Walter Edward Thomson Morland (born 1882) married Dulce M. Wroughton in the Brixworth district in 1920. He was a retured Major living at Rudhall Drive at Ross & Whitchurch in 1939, but appears to have emigrated to South Africa, as was described as being of Tuleni, Hilton Road, Natal Province when he died at the Sanatorium at Pietermaritzburg on 29 September 1962.
  • Denys Max Thomson Morland (born 1892) married Stella M. Pearce in the first quarter of 1916 in the Chesterton Registration District (Cambridgeshire), and they had five children: Benjamin H. Morland (born 1919), Mary E. Morland (born 1920/1), Joseph J. Morland (born 1923), Timothy E. Morland (born 1926), and Anne K. Morland (born 1928)). Denys Morland was living at Downs House, West Ilsley when he died on the A34 road at Chieveley near Newbury on 17 April 1964. His wife Stella Mary Morland was his executor.

See also

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