Wing Commander Owen Aubrey Morris DSO

Morris, Aubrey - Gp Capt 19-10-1945 (1)

A wonderful post-war portrait of
Group Captain Owen Aubrey Morris DSO

welsh

Name: Owen Aubrey Morris
Born:
Educated:
Died:
Awards: Distinguished Service Order

Air Ministry Bulletin 9917 of 18 April 1943 (London Gazette 20.04.1943)
“This officer has commanded the squadron since October 1942.  Previously he was a flight commander in another squadron.  He has displayed outstanding ability and courage during all his sorties against enemy targets.  In November 1942 he was detailed for a special operation.  One engine of the aircraft failed when he was still 50 miles from the target.  Being fully aware of the importance of the mission, Wing Commander Morris proceeded to fulfil his obligations in spite of all obstacles.  On the return journey trouble was experienced with a second engine, but although at times it was necessary to fly at only 200 feet, he flew the aircraft successfully to base.  His determination and courage have inspired his squadron.”

Promotions (War-time)

SSC as Acting Pilot Officer (on Probation) 26.06.1931
Pilot Officer 26.06.1932
Flying Officer 26.01.1933
Flight Lieutenant 01.04.1936
Temporary Wing Commander 01.12.1938
Transferred to Reserve and called up 26.06.1942
Wing Commander (W/S) 30.09.1943
Temporary Group Captain 01.07.1944

Movements (Known)

RAF Depot Uxbridge 26.06.1931
No.2 Flying Training School, Digby 11.07.1931
No.10 (B) Squadron, Boscombe Down 23.06.1932
RAF Calshot 20.03.1933
No.10 (B) Squadron 19.05.1933
No.207(B) Squadron 15.09.1933
No.501(F) Squadron 28.02.1935
7 F.T.S Peterborough 06.04.1936
C.F.S Upavon 28.08.1937
No.10 O.T.U Abington 08.07.1940
No.102 Squadron 29.07.1940 (in) 01.04.1941 (out)
Commanding Officer RAF Station Cranage April 1941-July 1942
No.1651 Conversion Unit  07.09.1942 to 04.10.1942
No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron 05.10.1942 to 29.03.1943
Commanding Officer RAF Station Mildenhall (No.31 Base) 30.03.1943 to 04.10.1943 
Commanding Officer RAF Station Tuddenham 05.10.1943 to 27.07.1945

Click on BlueRed & Green for further information

Operations Flown with No.102 Squadron
Equipped Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V
Bases RAF Driffield
RAF Leeming
RAF Linton
RAF Topcliffe
Date Serial Codes Target Comments (via Log Book) Italic (Via ORB bold)
04.08.1940 N1474 DY-H Duisburg  Did Not locate target. Believed bombed Krefeld A/F
2nd pilot to F/Lt McKay & crew
24.08.1940 P4935 DY-F Stuttgart Believed bombed Saarbrucken 
2nd pilot Sgt R A Pearce & crew
28.08.1940 P5073 DY-D Osnabruck Direct hit Junkers
2nd pilot Sgt R A Pearce & crew
30.09.1940 Convoy Patrol Thick weather, did not contact
02.10.1940 P5073 DY-D Anti-Sub Patrol
03.10.1940 P5073 DY-D Convoy Patrol Contact made
24.10.1940 P5012 DY-G Berlin Intense AA fire, struck ballon barrage. Bombed through cloud
21.11.1940 T4289 DY-C Duisburg  Heavy icing, did not locate owing to cloud. Diverted B/Newton
13.12.1940 T4289 DY-C  Duisburg  Recalled from Hornsea owing to fog
15.12.1940 T4289 DY-C  Berlin Bombed Rheine, burst observed: W/T and electrical systemu/s. 
Landed in sea short of petrol. Crew OK Picked up by RAF
Marine Section, Bridlington. 
27.01.1941 DY-C Hanover Direct hits NW part of Hanover, fires and explosions.
Broke cloud at 1200ft topcliffe on return. 
01.03.1941 DY-J Cologne Bombed Cologe OK W/T u/s on return. Landed B.Newton
Aircraft run out of petrol taxing off flare path. 
13.03.1941 DY-F Hamburg Very accurate AA over target, hit several times. Lost height
14000ft – 2000ft over Elbe, bombs in Hamburg
20.03.1941 DY-F Lorient  Bombed submarine docks at L’Orient, landed Linton flare path
crash at Topcliffe. 
Operations Flown with No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron
Equipped Short Stirling Mk.I
Bases RAF Downham Market
10.10.1942 R9184 HA-U Mining Mining mouth of Gironde River, MG fire encountered
2nd pilot to S/Ldr Samson & crew
13.10.1942 R9184 HA-U Kiel Heavy concentration of S/Ls-Flak over Flensburg & Kiel areas
2nd pilot to S/Ldr Samson & crew
23.10.1942 W7614 HA-J Genoa Bombed 10000ft, little opposition. Attacked by fighter NE Paris
No strikes
08.11.1941 W7612 HA-T Toulon Nickling Toulon 15000ft, outer feathered, port outer 1750 revs
returned 8000ft-10000ft undershot and crashed Tangmere,
crew OK
28.11.1942 N3721 HA-P Turin Bombed centre of Turin at 12000ft, town sea of flames
03.02.1943 R9196 HA-G Hamburg Shot at a JU88 on way in-claim destroyed. Bombed at 14000ft
10/10th cloud, intense accurate heavy flak. 

Notes:

It is obvious that Owen Morris was a very lucky pilot, and good luck was a must in Bomber Command, added to his luck he was also an exceptional pilot and captain.  His first tour on No.102 Squadron would see him ditch his Whitley in the North Sea during the winter of 1940/41 and survive, a rare feat during this period. It would also witness another close call when on return from Cologne his Whitley run out of fuel while taxing to dispersal! As very lucky escape again. The losses suffered by No.102 were heavy during Owens tenure, long range operations often in marginal weather was the norm for the squadrons of No.4 Group, sadly they paid a heavy price.

A return to operations and now in command of his own squadron Owen’s luck still held firm, two fighter encounters were experienced on this tour and like his previous tour he experienced a very narrow escape. On return from Toulon with two defective engines Owen managed to coax the Stirling to within sight of the fighter base at RAF Tangmere when disaster struck, clipping trees on his approach the Stirling crashed writing off the aircraft but without injury to the crew.

His time in command was all too brief, he left No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron in March 1943, the squadron was full of confidence and with morale at a high. This in part was due to Wing Commander Morris and his style of command, leading from the front and by example.

I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to Mr David Morris for his kind help and support on establishing the operational career of Group Captain O A Morris DSO