A Scarce Great War Air Force Cross Group to No. 55 Squadron
A Scarce Great War Air Force Cross Group to No. 55 Squadron - Air Force Cross, George V (Lt. F.W. MORTER. R. WAR. R. AND R.A.F.); British War Medal (LIEUT. F.W. MORTER. R.F.C.); and Victory Medal (LIEUT. F.W. MORTER. R.F.C.). Naming is engraved on the AFC and officially impressed on the First World War pair. Mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, maker marked "SPINK & SON Ltd." on the reverse, contact marks, very fine. Accompanied by black and white Reproduction Photograph of Morter in his Royal Warwickshire Regiment uniform, copies of his Index Cards, Service Records, two Mentions in the London Gazette, Warwickshire Cricket Records, along with a copy of a publication entitled "Nice at Cannon Hill" by Andrew Sutton and assorted research papers. Footnote: Frank William Morter was born on August 14, 1897 in Down, Kent, the son of W.M. Morter. He was a resident of Cannon Hill House, Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, and later a student at Birmingham University in 1914. He left his studies at the university to accept a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, as mentioned in the London Gazette 29102 of Tuesday, March 16, 1915, on the same date, page 2636. Thirteen months later, Morter was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps on April 18, 1916 and posted for trained at Reading. The following month, he was transferred for three weeks to No. 5 Reserve Squadron based at Castle Bromwich, from May 25 to June 15, 1916, before being posted to the Military School at Birmingham, where he earned the Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate, number 3156, the test taken on the Maurice Farman Biplane. He was posted to No. 47 Squadron based at Beverley (north of Hull) on June 15th, where he flew BE2c's, AW FK3's and Bristol Scouts. No. 47 Squadron eventually shipped out to Salonika, Greece on September 5th, but Morter missed going there by one month, as he was posted as a Flying Officer to No. 55 Squadron (formed from 34 Squadron and 5 Reserve Squadron) based at Lilbourne (near Coventry), on August 8th, where he flew Avro 504Ks, BE2c's and AW FK3's. He was mentioned in Flight Magazine on September 7, 1916, page 759, as being named a Flying Officer with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and being on Special Reserve, and "to be seconded". Morter was promoted to Lieutenant with the Royal Flying Corps on October 1, 1916. Towards the end of the month, he joined No. 42 Squadron Expeditionary Force based at La Gorgue (near Lille), France on October 28th, where he flew BE2d's and BE2e's, and continued to do so after the Squadron moved to Bailleul (Town Ground, near Lille) on November 8th. Three weeks after he joined No. 42 Squadron, he was admitted to an Advanced Hospital on November 19th, then invalided to the United Kingdom. He was declared "Unfit for General Service for three months and Home Service for two months, with Light Duties for one month" on November 29, 1916 and "Unfit for General Service for three months and Home Service for two months, with Light Duties for six weeks" on January 8, 1917. His previous promotion to Lieutenant with the Royal Air Force no doubt had a strong influence on his being named a Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment on January 22, 1917. His health continued to be an issue in early 1917, as he was declared "Unfit for General Service for two months", then "Fit for Home Service, Gradual Flying" on March 1, 1917. He was finally cleared once more for flying duties and subsequently posted to the Wireless and Observers School on March 8, 1917. His health became an issue again two months later, as he was declared "Unfit for General Service for two months, Fit for Home Service - No Flying" on May 1, 1917 and "Unfit for General Service for one and a half months, Fit for Home Service" on June 29th, before being declared "Fit for General Service in a Warm Climate" on August 15th. While with the Royal Flying Corps, Morter was credited with flying MFSH's, MFLH's, BE2b's, BE2c's, BE2d's, BE2e's, BE12's, BE12a's, Avros, AW's, RE7's, and RE8's. When the Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to form the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918, he was transferred to the RAF as a Lieutenant, accordingly. He was finally declared "Fit for General Service in a Warm, Dry Climate" and "Fit for Home Service Flying Duties" on May 15, 1918. He was posted to No. 1 (Observers) School of Aerial Gunnery on March 19, 1918 and declared "Fit for Home Service Flying Duties" on July 10th, the School itself moving to New Romney on November 7, 1918. Morter was awarded the Air Force Cross as part of the King's Birthday Honours, "In recognition of Distinguished Services during the war", as mentioned in the Thirteenth Supplement to the London Gazette 31378 of Friday, May 30, 1919, on Tuesday, June 3, 1919, page 7034. His award of the Cross was also mentioned in Flight Magazine on June 12, 1919, page 784. He was posted to No. 8 Aircraft Acceptance Park at Lympne, Kent on June 12, 1919. It was originally opened in 1916 by the Royal Flying Corps as an acceptance point for aircraft being delivered to, and returned from France and later designated as a First Class Landing Ground. Thirteen days after arriving at Lympne, Morter was transferred to the Royal Air Force Unemployed List on June 25, 1919. Shortly thereafter, the airfield itself was converted to civilian use and re-named Lympne Airport. He was placed on the Special Reserve of Officers of the 5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, retaining the rank of Lieutenant, as mentioned in the Supplement to the London Gazette 32034 of Friday, August 27, 1920, on Monday, August 30, 1920, page 8848. After his Air Force career was over, Morter became a Professional Cricketer for Warwickshire in the early 1920s, batting right-handed and bowling right-handed at medium-fast. He participated in the 1922 County Championships (versus Yorkshire on June 21st; versus Kent on July 1st; and versus Leicestershire on July 5th). He died on December 20, 1958 at Five Ways, Birmingham, Warwickshire, at the age of 61.