Private Morriss Willson SPINKS

Regiment:                                      Royal Army Service Corpslogo-cwgc2

Unit:                                                 “K” Company

Service Number:                          S/4/072642

Date of Death:                               15th May 1915Died

Age:                                                   27 years

Cemetery / Memorial:               Ruskington Cemetery

Grave / Panel Ref.:                     North Border 13.


Home Life:

According to his enlistment papers, Morriss was born on 19 November 1887 in the Boston District, although the 1911 Census gives his place of birth as Nottingham. There are, however, no obvious records of the family on the 1891 Census, probably because on 11 April 1889 the family arrived in New York. There is no record, as yet, of the name of Morriss’s mother, nor when they returned to England.

The 1901 Census (RG 13/3029) shows that he is living at the home of his widowed grandmother, Jane (née Millson) Spinks, at Market Place, Donington, Spalding, with his father, Morriss, and two of Jane’s other adult children.

Morriss’ father (also Morriss) married Emily Gertrude Sharp in the March quarter 1902, and started a new family. The 1911 Census (RG 14/19482) shows that they were living in Donington with two children, Mary Gertrude, aged 8, and 3 years old Maurice (different spelling) Willson!


On 27 December 1909 Morriss, Jnr. married Clara Cock, a resident of Ruskington, and on 17 March 1910 their daughter, Phyllis Mary, was born.

The 1911 Census (RG 14/19618) shows Morriss living with his wife and daughter on Post Office Street, Ruskington, and working as a “Clerk to a Building Contractor”.

The Sleaford Gazette‘ (27 March 1915) reported that he had worked “on the office staff of Messrs. Pattinson and Sons” for some years prior to his enlistment that week.

After the War Clara moved to Jubilee Street, Ruskington.    [N.B. Clara was the sister of Pt. 16576 Harry Holmes COCK, killed in action in Gallipoli, 19 August 1915.]


Military Service:

Morriss enlisted at Lincoln on 25 March 1915 for a period of 3 Years or the Duration of the War. Four days later he was posted to the Royal Army Service Corps. He was aged 27 years 6 months.

connaught hospital

Connaught Hospital, Aldershot

Morriss died in the Connaught Hospital, Aldershot, and his “Death Report” shows he died of ‘pneumonia – contracted on active service’, on 15 May 1915, after just 52 days with the Colours.

He was brought home to Ruskington and buried in a family grave. He does not have a CWGC headstone, but a marble cross.

Spinks M W 2


On 31 August 1915 his total effects, amounting to £4 0s. 5d (£4.02) were returned to his widow, Clara. [A relative value of about £525 today – 2023].

With effect from 15 November 1915 she was also granted an Army pension of 15s. (75p – £100 today) for herself and their daughter.

Probate Records show that in addition, in his Will, Morriss left Clara £227 19s 5d (£227.92 – a relative value of about £30,000 today).

Although Morriss died whilst a serving soldier and was, therefore, eligible for the ‘official’ CWGC headstone, his grave is marked by a private, family memorial.

Larger memorial image loading...He is buried next to the parents of his wife, Clara, – Lizzie Cock, who died in August 1924, aged 57, and William Cock, died December 1935, aged 72, in Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot, North Border, Grave 14.

On 25 August 1928 Clara re-married Frederick Turner Frisby at St Peter and St John Church, Kirkley, Suffolk. The 1939 Register shows them living at 9 St Leonard’s Street, Stamford, and Frederick working as a “Builder and Contractor“. Clara died in the December quarter 1965, aged 74.



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