Louis Morrice was born at 154 Northumberland Street, Toxteth, on the 21st March 1894 and was baptised at Our Lady of Mount Carmel R.C. Church on the 4th April 1894. He had two full siblings, Alexander (born 1887) and Annie Cecilia (born 1890)
He was the son of James Morrice and his wife Mary (nee Leece). Both of his parents had been married before. His father was a ship's rigger from Fraserburgh, Scotland. He was described as a "protestant" in his children's baptism records.
His mother was born at Swinnerton, Staffordshire. Her son, John (or Joseph) Dunn was born in Newcastle, Staffordshire, and was living with the rest of the Morrice family at 35 Pecksniff Street, Toxteth in 1891 and at 156 Northumberland Street, Toxteth in 1901. John Dunn was working as a bottler of ale in 1901 and by 1911 his half-brother, Louis Morrice, aged 17, was also working at a stout bottling store.
James Morrice had died in 1903, aged 60, and his wife Mary had married, in 1904, for a third time: - to Alfred Webber at St.John the Baptist C.of E. Church, Toxteth. Louis was living at 34 Upper Hill Street with his mother, step-father and brother, Alexander Morrice in 1911. His sister, Annie, had married William C Bedford in 1907 and her son, William Alexander Bedford was also living at 34 Upper Hill Street. Alexander Morrice married Elizabeth Whitty in 1913.
Louis Morrice's service records have survived. These show he enlisted in the 1st Lancashire Royal Garrison Artillery at Sefton [Park] Barracks on the 5th August 1914. He was 5ft 8 in tall and was working at British American Tobacco. His cause of death was given as "shot whilst searching wood for spy".
A report on his death appeared in the Liverpool Weekly Mercury on the 15th August 1914. His photo appeared in the report and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo. Louis' mother survived him by just four months.

A Cheshire Tragedy.




   The mysterious death of a gunner in the Lancashire Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery whilst engaged in military duties at Bidston on Monday night formed the subject of an inquest held on Wednesday in the Reading-room, Bidston Village, by M J C Bate, the West Cheshire coroner. The proceedings lasted for nearly two hours, and ended in the jury returning an open verdict. Major Stitt, representing the Lancashire Brigade, was present during the inquiry. The victim of the tragedy is Louis Morrice, aged twenty, who had been a labourer, and had resided with his mother and stepfather at 34, Upper Hill-street, Liverpool, until Wednesday of last week, when he joined the artillery. Since that time deceased, with others, had been doing garrison duty at Bidston Hill.
   The evidence of various members of the corps was to the effect that about midnight on Monday and alarm was raised consequent upon the report of a sentry that a suspected person was loitering in the vicinity of the gun park. The guard turned out, and some shots were fired. The, under the direction of Lieutenant Cook, the men, split up into parties, were moved into the fir wood in extended order with the object of searching for the trespasser. Morrice was one of a party of five who made their way through the thick undergrowth towards the railing dividing the wood from Eleanor-road. When within two or three yards of the railing deceased's comrades saw a flash in front, followed by a retort. Morrice, who was nearest the railings, staggered, cried "Oh! I am shot." and fell to the ground. It was found that a bullet had passed through his body, and although medical aid was promptly summoned, the young soldier died a few minutes after the shot had been fired.
   Bombardier Beamish said that when the alarm was given he ran to the gun park. "There he is," pointing towards a man who was on the wall. Witness ran to seize the man, but he clambered over the wall into the ferns. He challenged the man, but got no response. Witness was the ferns moving. He ordered some of his men to fire, which they did. Lieutenant Cook then arrived, and ordered the men to beat the wood.
   When witness's men fired, the wood was quite clear so far as soldiers were concerned. The men in the deceased's party were not in complete agreement as to the direction from which the shot which killed Morrice came. One said he saw a flame in front, about ten yards outside the railings. Another said the flash came from the right-hand bottom corner of the railings near the bushes. His opinion was that the shot which killed Morrice came from the wood. A third member of the party said the shot came from the road and not from the wood. This witness did not see anything moving. On the question whether Morrice's rifle had been fired inadvertently through the trigger catching in a twig, it was pointed out by Major Stitt that this was unlikely, as the trigger would require a 6lb pull.


   Lieutenant A E Cook said he gave strict instructions that no one was to fire without challenging. The deceased could not have been in front of any portion of the line owing to the position in which witness had placed his men. Witness added that when he came back to the gun park he saw a man standing close up to the ammunition, and when challenged he ran away. Dr Thomas Brown, captain in the Royal Army Medical corps attached to the Lancashire Brigade, deposed to being called to the deceased. The bullet had gone through the lower part of his body, entering on the right side and coming out on the left near the spine. It was a clean wound, and must have been caused by a nickel bullet - either a service bullet or a bullet from a heavy automatic pistol. It was impossible to distinguish which. From the relative position of the points of entrance and exit he assumed that the bullet was fired from a spot lower than where the man was standing. Judging by the size and the condition of the wound, he thought the shot had been fired at a distance of about twenty yards.
   Major Stitt told the coroner that there certainly had been men hanging about the garrison "I saw a man myself later on in the night standing beside the ammunition on the Liverpool side of the gun park." The verdict of the jury was that death had been caused by a bullet, but there was no evidence to show by whom the shot had been fired. The jury expressed sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.

Liverpool Weekly Mercury 15th August 1914

Louis Morrice was buried in a family grave R 381 at Ford R.C. Cemetery on the 16th August 1914.

The grave was owned by Mary Webber (and later by Annie Bedford) and the burials in the grave were:

Louis Maurice buried 16 Aug 1914 aged 20y place of death Bidston Garrison
Mary Webber buried 18 Dec 1914 aged 62y place of death 34 Upper Hill Street
Mary Bedford buried 16 Jun 1916 aged 2w place of death 34 Upper Hill Street
Florence Bedford buried 19 Mar 1924 aged 4y place of death 31 Torr Street
Thomas Bedford buried 8 Feb 1933 aged 6m place of death 31 Torr Street
Annie Cecilia Bedford buried 16 Mar 1939 aged 48y place of death 19a Sir Thomas White Gardens
Annie Parkinson buried 15 May 1959 aged 47y place of death 107 Boundary Lane
As Louis did not see active service overseas he was not eligible for any war medals. His 'King's Scroll' was delivered to his brother, Alexander, at 22 Vesuvius Street, Kirkdale, in January 1920. Alexander Morrice served with the 8th Battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment (service number 2822) from 3rd November 1914 until March 1919.
A report on Louis' funeral appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post on the 17th August 1914.
   The funeral of the young Liverpool Territorial, Louis Morrice, whose death took place under such tragic circumstances on Bidston Hill, last Monday night, was the occasion of a remarkable demonstration of public sympathy, yesterday, when the remains were interred at Ford Cemetery with military honours. A dense throng gathered near Upper Hill-street, and as the cortege left the house the respect in which the young fellow and the other members of the family were held was strikingly manifested.
   The cortege was met at the canal bridge, Seaforth, by a detachment of his late comrades, in charge of Lieutenant Royston, and proceeded to the cemetery. The firing party, in command of Sergeant-Major Long, marched in front of the hearse with reversed arms, and the Union Jack covered the coffin. The service at the graveside was most impressive, the Rev. E. Father J. Lowry officiating, and the customary three volleys were fired over the grave, the bugler sounding "The Last Post."
   The chief mourners were Mrs. M. Webber (mother), Mr. A. Morrice (brother), Mrs. A. Bedford (Sister), Mr. J. Dunn and Mr. J. Morrice (step-brothers), Mr. Bedford (brother-in-law), Mrs. A. Morrice, Mrs. J. Morrice, and Mrs. W. Dunn (sisters-in-law), Nurse Cosgrove, Miss Cosgrove, Mr. F. Jones, Mr. McInerney, Miss O'Toole, Mr. Annett, Mr. J. Kelsey, Mr. Millar, Mr. Rotheram, Mr. T. McCourt, Mr. J. Nugent, Mr. A. Monaghan, Mr. J. Monaghan, Miss Carlin, and Mr. W. Carney. Among the large concourse of general mourners were many members of St.Patrick's Young Men's Society. There were numerous floral tributes, including wreath from comrades and the employees of the British American Tobacco Company.
   The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Thomas Porter and Sons, of Toxteth Park.