An Extraordinary Lot to Group Captain C. S. Morice
A particularly fine Second World War D.S.O., Great War M.C. group of ten awarded to Group Captain C. S. Morice, Royal Air Force, late Worcestershire Regiment and Royal Flying Corps, who was twice wounded in the trenches before joining No. 57 Squadron and being downed by Richthofen?s "Flying Circus" in a combat over Douai in April 1917 - returning to uniform in the 1939-45 War, he added a D.S.O. to his accolades for his leadership of 121 (Typhoon) Wing in France in the summer of 1944Distinguished Service Order, G.VI.R. 1st issue, silver-gilt and enamels, the reverse of the suspension bar officially dated ?1944?; Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914 Star, with clasp (2 Lieut., Worc. R.); British War and Victory Medals (Capt. C. S. Morice, R.F.C.); 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, M.I.D. oak leaf; The Netherlands, Order of Orange-Nassau, Commander?s neck badge, with swords, silver-gilt and enamel, the reverse centre of the first slightly chipped and loose and the fourth with officially corrected surname, the earlier awards with contact marks but otherwise generally very fine or better.FootnoteD.S.O. London Gazette 22 September 1944. The original recommendation states:?Wing Commander Morice formed 121 Wing early in 1943 and has commanded it ever since. He has all the attributes of a leader and his exceptional cheerfulness and enthusiasm has produced an esprit de corps which is of the highest order. Despite his age he has flown every type of operational fighter aircraft in Tactical Air Force (T.A.F.) and thus fitted himself to hold operational command of a modern fighter Wing.He brought 121 Wing over to France during the assault period and established it on an aerodrome only 2500 yards from the enemy. Here, the Wing was under shell fire for nearly a month but despite the great difficulties caused by this constant shelling his magnificent example to all ranks kept them at work so that the airfield was never unserviceable and aircraft never ceased to operate.His Wing has been largely responsible for the development of the Typhoon as a close support rocket fighter. The results have been outstanding and have called forth admiration and praise from both the British and American armies and the British and American Air Forces.For his exceptional leadership and devotion to duty under fire I very strongly recommend this officer for the award of the Distinguished Service Order.?M.C. London Gazette 1 January 1918. The original recommendation states:?For exceptional skill and valuable work in the taking of aeroplane photographs, often under most difficult weather conditions from April to September 1917. At all times his excellent example and spirit have inspired those around him.?Charles Stewart Morice, who was born in London in May 1890, was gazetted as a Supplementary Reserve Officer into the Worcestershire Regiment in October 1912, when he was attached to the 6th (Militia) Battalion. Mobilised with the 3rd Battalion on the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, Morice went out to France that August but was evacuated home in December after being wounded on the Aisne. Returning to France in May of the following year, he was again wounded, this time in the fighting at St. Eloi on 19 August 1915, following which, on his recovery, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.Having then qualified as a pilot in September 1916, Morice was posted to No. 57 Squadron out in France, commencing his operational tour in April 1917. On the last day of that month, Morice and his Observer, Lieutenant F. Leathley, were one of four 57 Squadron F.Es that fell foul of von Richthofen?s "Flying Circus" in a combat over Douai, and were lucky to survive a heavy crash-landing:?At about 7.30 a.m. when on line patrol west of Douai at about 10,000 feet, several single-seater Albatross Scouts were hovering about. Formation was kept until one F.E. 2d dived and became involved with three hostile aircraft. F.E. 2d A-1966 dived and drove one to earth completely out of control. At this point the radiator was hit. F.E. 2d steered west followed by four or five hostile aircraft which were evaded until reaching the line which was crossed at 500 feet, under a severe fire from the ground. The machine landed about 3,000 yards behind the lines at Roclincourt. The engine seized? (Morice?s combat report refers).On 21 June, Morice engaged another enemy aircraft, firing 200 rounds at less than 100 yards range, his adversary?s aircraft turning completely over on its back with pieces falling from the fuselage. By the end of his operational tour in September 1917, he had competed many other sorties - mainly of a bombing or photographic nature - and was awarded the M.C. Thereafter remaining employed on the Home Establishment until the War?s end, he held further appointments at the Air Ministry and in Iraq, and was placed on the Retired List as a Squadron Leader in June 1925. Taking up employment as a technical expert for the Dunlop Rubber Company, he was recalled on the renewal of hostilities in September 1939, and went out to France as a censor in the Advanced Striking Force before becoming Operational Controller at R.A.F. Wittering during the Battle of Britain.Early in 1943, Morice helped form 121 Wing of the Tactical Air Force and having by then flown every type of operational fighter aircraft and been advanced to the acting rank of Group Captain, led it out to Normandy in 1944, just six days after D-Day, the Wing?s rocket-firing Typhoons thereafter lending valuable support during the crucial days following the invasion, and beyond. He was awarded the D.S.O. and the Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau, the latter insignia for his command of 121 Wing at Volkel in October-December 1944, where his ?excellent work greatly contributed to the liberation of the Netherlands.?Returning to his career at the Dunlop Rubber Company after the War, Morice settled in Sussex on his retirement in the 1950, and died at Storrington in February 1969; sold with two files of research.