26 October 1917
SY. ENGINEER MISSING
We learn with deep regret that Mr Donald Morison, chief engineer of one of the ships of the British India Company is "missing". Two months have now elapsed since his ship was torpedoed, and as no news has been received of the occupants of the boat in which Mr Morison left the ship, the gravest fears are now entertained as to his safety.
Mr Morison, who was familiar to Stornoway boys of his time as "Dannie Creed", was a son of the late Mr Donald Morison, formerly manager of the Creed Chemical Works and, later, of Claypark, Garrabost - a Stornoway man recognised by his contemporaries as of more than ordinary native talent and ability. The missing officer was a fine type of Lewisman, dignified and upright in bearing as in character, devoted to his profession and of a courteous and kindly disposition. He always gave one the impression of being a man possessing "in quietness and confidence" a great reserve of moral and intellectual strength.
He was some thirty years in the service of the British India Company, and was held in the highest esteem by all who sailed with him, in whatever capacity, as well as by those in authority in the Company's service on shore. The latter have lost a faithful and a capable servant.
We feel too that Stornoway has lost another of those manly and widely scattered sons of hers, who, on every sea and in every land, so worthily uphold all that is best in the traditions of their native town, and who steadfastly follow what was true and noble in the ideals inculcated by the training of their youth.
Heartfelt sympathy and confidence will be extended to Mr Morison's wife and family, and to his aged mother in a sorrow that is rendered the more poignant in the case of the former from the fact that her eldest son was killed in action in France a little more than three weeks before the date on which his father's ship was sunk.
2 November 1917
From the "Daily Sketch" we cull the following, which gives some further details:
"Information has reached Liverpool that a body has been washed ashore at Trevou, France, and from documents found in the pockets in the clothing it would appear that the man was Donald Morrison (55), chief engineer of a ship. A will found upon him leaves everything to his wife, Helen Morrison. Over £120 in American and English notes were discovered on the body, which had been in the water apparently two months. It was placed in a coffine and interred by the vector in the churchyard at Trevou".
The [above] report with regard to Mr Donald Morrison, chief engineer, whose ship had been torpedoed two months ago, and of whom no intelligence had since been received, was read with deep regret in Stornoway, and the sincerest sympathy was expressed on all sides with the relatives in their terrible suspense and anxiety as to his fate. Unfortunately, that is now beyond doubt, for the sea has yielded up its secret, as the following extract from the "Liverpool Express" shows:
Mr George A. Craddock, 8 Staplands Road, Broad Green, writes:-
On behalf of the relatives of a drowned officer, whose death is probably due to the ruthless submarine warfare, I beg to send you the following particulars, in case any of your readers may know the deceased officer. I have just received a letter from a lady residing at Trevou, France, dated 13th October 1917, stating:-
"Yesterday, at six o'clock in the morning, the tide washed up a drowned man. He had, it appears been over two months in the water, and had two gold braids on his sleeves. Men carried down a coffin and therein put the poor fellow, prior to which his pockets were searched, when he was discovered to be English. The Mayor of Trevou came to ask me to accompany him to the Mairie and translate the papers. Meanwhile, the Recotr very correctly went to meet the corpse with the Sacristan, carrying the cross etc, and the poor sailor was laid to rest in our little quiet and sheltered churchyard. God rest him! I looked through all his papers. One was a paper giving permission to land at certain parts and bore his photograph. He must have been good looking. His name was Donald Morrison, his age fifty-five and he was chief engineer. Part of his papers were almost dry, being enclosed in a flat tin box, but his bank notes were soaked. There was a paper which seems to me to be a certificate of altitude [sic] as engineer. The Mayor and I pored and pored over it, but the printing is all but effaced. It was dated 1887. I went to newly-covered grave and there offered up a prayer in English for its poor occupant.