Republican Order of Merit Civilian and Military
Awarded to John Morris in recognition and to reward the merits acquired through patriotism, civic spirit, attachment to the cause of National Defense and French Security in dedication to democratic ideals and to the cause of peace.
Ordre Républicain du Mérite Civique et Militaire
Patrie et République L'O.R.M.C.M.
Private Interior Order a été fondé par le F.O.R.R. et le F.S.O.R.R.
(Fêtes nationales 1963)
Article 2 des statuts L'ORDRE a pour objet de reconnaître et de récompenser les mérites acquis par le patriotisme, le civisme, l'attachement à la cause de la Défense Nationale et de la Sécurité française dans le dévouement aux idéaux démocratiques et à la cause de la paix.
Ordre républicain du mérite civique et militaire
Brevet de Chevalier Décerné à M. Morris John qui aura droit aux honneurs et prérogatives attachés à son grade.
Fait à Paris, le 7 mai 1975
ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
OTTAWA, Canada, 11th September 1944.
Mrs. John Morris,
28 Colborne Street,
Dear Mrs. Morris:
Confirming my telegram of recent date, I am pleased to inform you that the Royal Canadian Air Force Casualties Officer, Overseas, has advised me that your husband, Flight Sergeant John Morris, previously reported missing on Active Service, is now reported to have arrived safely in the United Kingdom on August 30th, 1944.
I join with you and the members of your family in your joy in your husband’s safety.
W. M. Wismer S/O
R.C.A.F. Casualty Officer,
for Chief of the Air Staff.
ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
OTTAWA, Canada, 15th July, 1944.
Mrs. John Morris,
28 Colborne Street,
Dear Mrs. Morris:
It is with deep regret that I must confirm our recent telegram informing you that your husband, Flight Sergeant John Morris, is reported missing on Active Service.
Advice has been received from the Royal Canadian Air Force Casualties Officer, Overseas, that your husband and the entire crew of his aircraft failed to return to their base after taking off to carry out bombing operations over Villeneuve St. Georges, France, on the night of July 4th and the early morning of July 5th, 1944.
The term “missing” is used only to indicate that his where-abouts is not immediately known and does not necessarily mean that your husband has been killed or wounded. He may have landed in enemy territory and might be a Prisoner of War. Enquiries have been made through the International Red Cross Society and all other appropriate sources and I wish to assure you that any further information received will be communicated to you immediately.
Attached is a list of the members of the Royal Canadian Air Force who were in the crew of the aircraft together with the names and addresses of their next-of-kin. Your husband’s name will not appear on the official casualty list for five weeks. You may however, release to the Press or Radio the fact that he is reported missing but not disclosing the date, place or his unit.
Permit me to extend to you my heartfelt sympathy during this period of uncertainty and I join with you and the members of your family in the hope that better news will be forthcoming in the near future.
E. Sadd S/O
R.C.A.F. Casualty Officer
for Chief of the Air Staff.
R.C.A.F. G. 32B
Flight Lieutenant L.W.A. Frame,
Next-of-kin, Mr. T.A. Frame (father)
52 Victoria Street, Ottawa, Ontario.
Flying Officer W.B. Reynolds,
Next-of-kin, Mr. E.R. Reynolds (father)
281 Peter Street, Pembroke, Ontario.
Flying Officer W.C. Watson,
Next-of-kin, Mr. LeRoy Watson (father)
5 College St., St. Thomas, Ontario.
Flight Sergeant John Morris,
Next-of-kin, Mrs. John Morris, (wife)
28 Colborne Street, Galt, Ontario.
Sergeant H.B. Hayes,
Next-of-kin, Mr. Ernest Hayes, (father)
48 Fulton Ave., Ottawa, Ontario.
Sergeant David High,
Next-of-kin, Mr. David High, (father)
ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
TORONTO, Ont., 12th July, 1944
Mrs. John Morris,
28 Colborne St.,
Dear Mrs. Morris:
We have recently received word that your husband has been reported missing after operations overseas on July 5th, and are sincerely hoping that some good news of his safety may be forthcoming soon.
I have had the privilege of ministering to many of our boys, both overseas and in Canada, and know what splendid work they are doing. We are very proud of them.
Please be assured that we are thinking of you and may God give you all courage and strength to carry on during these anxious days.
Yours very sincerely,
John McNab Group Captain
Command Chaplain (P)
No. 1 Training Command.
R.C.A.F. G. 32
For Prompt Service Telephone No. 48 17 Ainslie Street South
AFTER HOURS, CALL No. 678
R K 32 GB 2 EXA
RCAF OTTAWA ONT 313A JULY 9-44
MRS JOHN MORRIS
REPORT DELIVERY 28 COLBORNE ST GALT ONT
M9905 REGRET TO ADVISE THAT YOUR HUSBAND R ONE NINE ONE NINE ONE NOUGHT FLIGHT SERGEANT JOHN MORRIS IS REPORTED MISSING AFTER AIR OPERATIONS OVERSEAS JULY FIFTH STOP LETTER FOLLOWS
RCAF CASUALTIES OFFICER
To Mrs. John Morris
I have learned with deep regret that Flight Sergeant Air Gunner John Morris, R.C.A.F. has been reported missing.
The Government and people of Canada join me in expressing the hope that more favourable news will be forthcoming in the near future.
Charles G Power
Minister of National Defence for Air
A Target Token is a keepsake given to bomber crew members that recognizes excellence in combat. This was a morale boosting measure by RCAF 6 Group Air Vice Marshall McEwen to spotlight the excellence of those crews who hit their target directly.
Target: Le Mans
Date: 13/14 3 1944
CANADIAN-BUILT LANCASTER FLIES NO MORE
VALIANT VETERAN of 50 raids, the "Ruhr Express," first Canadian-built Lancaster to fly operationally, is only a wreck now. Flt.-Sergt. G. E. Berteau, Penhold, Alta., and Flt.-Sergt Nozzolillo, Toronto, look over the remains.
Local vet honored with French award
A Cambridge (Galt) air force veteran, who was shot down in France in the 1944045 battles, then worked with the French “underground” forces, has been awarded the second highest honor for service that France can bestow on civilians and the military.
John Morris, 177 Forest Road, an employee at the Cambridge (Galt) post office, received “The Order du Merite” (Order of Merit) rated next to the Croix du Guerre, just a few days ago. John and his wife and family are greatly pleased over the award from the French government.
“It is a high honor, rarely given, and seldom given to any foreigner,” Mr. Morris said. Fighting as an RCAF air gunner, he was shot down in France, then became connected with the underground and resistance forces in the intelligence section during the Allied push toward Paris.
There is a medal, given for service to “patrie and republique”, and a citation in French. “We are having it translated into English by a French teacher here and it is being framed by a local store,” said Mr. Morris.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Paris by the Allies and French underground, which came long after the D-Day landings in June, 1944.
“We did have a hint of this some time ago, but felt a letter referred to someone getting it who had served over there,” said a family member. “Then, we found out it was John.” Mr. Morris did not expound greatly on his part in the underground activities against the Nazi occupation forces. He had prior notice about the award from the Allied Escape Society. Then several days ago, the award came in a round cylinder, from France and Ottawa. It seems the French do not forget.
55 MISSING, NINE DEAD IN R.C.A.F. CASUALTY LIST
Ottawa, Aug. 9 - The R.C.A.F. released today its 956th official casualty list, containing 68 names, including 55 missing, four prisoners of war and nine dead.
Missing on Active Service After Air Operations
BREWER, Hedley Royden, Flt.-Sergt., Prince William, N.B.
BUCKHAM, John Alexander, W.O., Innisfail, Alta.
CLEARY, Henry Joseph, Flt.-Lieut.; E. J. Cleary (father), Fourth St. W., Cornwall.
CULLEN, William Clarence, F.O.; Mrs. W. C. Cullen (wife), Nelson St., Kingston.
DALY. John Raymond, F.O., Crystal City, Man.
FRAME, Lorne William Alexander, Flt.-Lieut.: T. A. Frame (father). Victoria St., Ottawa.
GAUTHIER, Joseph Paul Adelard, Sergt., Three Rivers, Que.
GAY, Wilfrid Charles, P.O., Kennedy Station, B.C.
GIBSON, William Russell, Sergt., Halifax.
GRACIE, William, Sergt., Vancouver.
GRENON, Leon Thomas, Flt.-Sergt., Huntingdon, Que.
HEAD, Leslie Frank, W.O., Vancouver.
HIGH, David. Sergt., Jarvie, Alta
HETHERINGTON, Stanley George. F.O.; Mrs. S. G. Hetherington (wife), 408 Dupont St., Toronto.
HODGSON, Goron Ross, F.O.; Mrs. G. R. Hodgson (wife), 144 Northcliffe Blvd., Toronto.
HOOD, Fredrick William, Flt.-Sergt., Halifax.
HUTCHINSON, Arthur Richard, Sergt., Tyvan, Sask.
INGLIS, Edward Ross, Sergt., Minnehik, Alta.
JEFFREY, James Stanley. W.O.; H. H. Jeffrey (father), 32 Warren Cresc., Toronto.
MacLEAN, Donald Laird, Sergt., Glace Bay, N.S.
MANSON, Donald Hendry, P.O., Vancouver.
McDONALD, Alexander James, F.O.; James McDonald (father), 20 Bonnyview Drive, Humber Bay.
McLAREN, Robert William. P.O.; Robert McLaren (father), 35 39th St., Long Branch.
McNAUGHTON, Oliver James. Flt.-Sergt., Gunton, Man.
MOORE, Walter Raymond, Sergt.; Jasper Moore (father), Addison.
MORE, John, Flt.-Sergt.; Mrs. Thomas More (mother), 209 Atlas Ave., Toronto.
MORRIS, John. Flt.-Sergt.; Mrs. John Morris (wife), Colborne St., Galt.
MURPHY, Daniel George, F.O., Transcona, Man.
O’BRIEN, Lawrence Francis. F.O.; J. A. O’Brien (father), Wellington St., Ottawa.
PERGANTES, Harry Peter, Flt.-Sergt., Quebec City.
PETT, James Thomas, Sergt.; Mrs. WIlliam Pett (mother), Shoemaker Ave., Kitchener.
PRUDHAM, James Ewart. F.O.; Mrs. J. E. Prudham (wife), 57 Beverley Blvd., Scarboro Bluffs.
REEVE, Peter Alan, Sergt., Vancouver.
REYNOLDS, William Boland, R.O.; E. R. Reynolds (father), Peter St., Pembroke.
ROE, Arthur Emerson, Sergt., Oakland, Calif., U.S.
ROSS, Alvin George, W.O., Spinney Hill, Sask.
SALOMAA, Ero Albaunus, F.O.; N. V. Salomaa (brother), Maple St., N., Timmins.
SCULLION, Patrick, F.O.; John Scullion (father), Main St. E., Hamilton.
SINCLAIR, Alexander Gunn, Sergt.; Mrs. Frank Clark (mother), Napanee.
SMITH, James Allan, F.O.; J. C. Smith (father), Ann St., Belleville.
STAPLETON, John Wilkins, F.O., Montreal.
STEEPE, Charles Albert Donald, F.O.; R. J. Steepe (father), Larch St., Sudbury.
STEVENSON, Joel Matthew, F.O., Sweetwater, Texas, U.S.
SUTCLIFFE, Richard Dennis, Sergt., Vancouver.
SWARTZE, Stanley John, Flt.-Sergt.; W. F. Swartze (father), Murray St., Pembroke.
SYKES, Leonard Taylor, F.O., Great Falls, Mont., U.S.
THOMSON, William Llewellyn, F.O., Kamloops, B.C.
TRUSCOTT, James Robert, Sergt.; J. S. Truscott (father), 166 Beech Ave., Toronto.
VAN ALSTYNE, Philip Nairn Thompson, F.O.; Mrs. P. N. T. Van Alstyne (wife), Meadowvale.
VIPOND, Blair Everett, W.O., Edmonton.
WATSON, William Charles, F.O.; LeRoy Watson (father), College St., St. Thomas.
WIOME, Michael, F.O., Brooking, Sask.
WOLSTENCROFT, George Atkinson, P.O., Corry, Penn., U.S.
WOYCHUCK, Roman Myroslaw, P.O., Calgary.
YUNKER, Bernard, Flt.-Lieut., Balgonie, Sask.
Previously Reported Missing on Active Service, Now Reported Prisoners of War, Germany
BOURDOT. William Loyd, W.O.; Mrs. Ellen Walsh (sister), Park St., Port Arthur
GRAHAM, William Carnegie, Fo.O; Mrs. W. C. Graham (wife), 39 Hiawatha Rd., Toronto.
GRIER, Robert Roy, W.O., Ogema, Sask.
POLLOCK, Frederick Hughes, Flt.-Lieut.; Dr. F. R. Pollock (father), Queen St. S., Kitchener.
Previously Reported Missing on Active Service, Now for Official Purposes Presumed Dead
BERNARD, Daniel, Flt.-Serg.; N. J. Bernard (father), Peter St., Sudbury.
BRUNET, Ernest Charles, W.O., Montreal.
BYERS, Colin Edward, Flt.-Sergt., Kelowna, B.C.
CLARK, Ross Edgerton, F.O.; Mrs. W. E. E. Clark (mother), Arthur St., Point Edward.
HARRISON, Arthur, D.F.M., P.O.; Richard Harrison (father), First St., W., Cornwall.
MacGREGOR, Rob Roy, F.O., Vancouver.
Previously Reported Prisoner of War, Now for Official Purposes Presumed to Have Died While Prisoner of War
WINNING. Walter Fry, F.O., New Glasgow, N.S.
Died of Injuries Sustained on Active Service
MULCAIR, Thomas Cornelius, P.O., OUtremont, Que.
PRING, Clifford Russell, F.O., Young, Sask.
CANADIANS IN THE R.A.F. OVERSEAS
Missing on Active Service After Air Operations
LESLIE, Donald Eugene, Sergt., Vancouver.
Local Woman’s Brother Hides From Gestapo In France
Pilot Officer John Morris, brother of Mrs. Frank J. Rudynski, 310 W. Belleview avenue, had a thrilling experience while he hid in Paris from the Gestapo, after being shot down over France last July. A Lodi paper tells the story: “Galt, Ont., looked good to PIlot Officer John Morris as he arrived at the home of his wife’s parents last night after harrowing experiences while he hid in Paris from the Gestapo after being shot down over France last July.
It is 17 months since the young air gunner left Galt. During two months of that time he was under the protection of the underground movement in Paris before the Americans entered the city. More than once he had to abandon his hideout and flee through the maze of sewers to find a new abode.
Returning to Canada over the weekend he was greeted in Toronto by his wife. Asked by The Reporter this morning to relate some of his experiences, PO Morris was reluctant to talk. He said he had already told all he could to R.C.A.F. at Ottawa.
He was surprised, and rather embarrassed to be shown a Canadian Press release of his story. Although admitting that all that was told was true, he seemed inclined to think that too much had been disclosed.
Escaped Via Sewers
The Canadian Press story reads: OTTAWA, Nov. 23, (CP) - PO. John Morris of Galt, under the protection of the underground movement in Paris for two months before the Americans entered the city, more than once had to abandon his hideout, and flee through the maze of sewers to find a new abode.
Morris, on his 15th operational trip as an air gunner, was shot down over France last July, and since has returned to Canada. He travelled more than five miles of the sewers of Paris after having heard through the underground that the Gestapo was on his trail, and that he would have to move.
When United States troops entered Paris Morris walked in to a headquarters, and asked how he could return to Britain. A routine checkup was made, and he soon was back with his squadron.
His most nerve-racking experience arose during the four days he was hidden in a Paris rooming-house. Gestapo agents and Nazi troops were in and out of the dwelling at all hours of the day and night, and Morris knew that just the turning of a door knob would result in his discovery.
“I lost 15 pounds during the two months, but it wasn’t because of the food” he said. “It was because I had to sit there and sweat it out. And I’ll tell you, at times I really did sweat.”
It wasn’t easy to talk past Gestapo headquarters, in front of which crack members stood guard with machine guns, but Morris did it, “and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared,” he said.
Morris was aboard a Lancaster when shot down. Of his last flight he said: “I didn't’ mind when the port engine was shot out. I didn’t mind when the floor was shot out. But when they shoot off your flying boot it’s time to get out.”
A bruised foot was his only injury. Morris is home for a 30-day leave. He said today that he wants to get “back into it,” after that.
MASDIN. Thomas, Sergt.; George Madsin (father), 375 Silverthorn Ave., Toronto.
McCONNELL, John Ross, P.O., Nokomis, Sask.
Previously Reported Missing on Active Service, Now Reported Safe
CORBY. Ross Craig. P.O.; Mrs. R. C. Corby (wife), Word Acre, Osgodby, Yorkshire, England., E. A. Corby (father), 23 Mortimer Ave., Toronto.
MORRIS, John, Flt.-Sergt.: Mrs. John Morris (wife), Colburne St., Galt.
NICKERSON, Ralph Waldo, Sergt., Vancouver.
SIDDALL, John David, F.O.,; David Siddall (father), 69 Melbourne Ave., Toronto
Dangerously Ill as a Result of Injuries Sustained on Active Service
Missing. - Above is Flt. Sgt. John Morris, 21, of Galt, who was listed as missing following air operations early this month. Flt. Sgt, Morris, whose wife resides at 28 Colborne St., was a member of crews chosen to fly Canadian-built Lancaster bombers on their first operational missions.
TORONTO TRIO RAIDED 31 TIMES IN MALTON LANKY
Bruce Rodman, Leslie Wade, A. B. Shuman
With them it’s all or none.
Three Toronto men of the same bomber crew, who flew in a Canadian-built R.C.A.F. Lancaster “T-for-Torchy” against enemy territory in Europe 31 times together, are home on leave. They are P.O. Bruce Rodman, 23, Evelyn Ave., bomb-aimer; W.O. Leslie Wade, 23, Westmount Ave., wireless operator and Flt.-Sergt. “Ab” Shuman, 21, flight engineer.
Other members of the all-Canadian crew, all back in Canada, are: P.O. Ira Johnston, Saskatchewan; P.O. Johnny Morris, Galt; and P.O. Jim Rodgers, Stewiacke, N.S. Except for Morris, who made 15 trips, they were all together for 31 ‘ops. MOrris was once reported missing but turned up in France two months later.
Flying in the Moose squadron, the trio took part in the first all-Canadian Lancaster effort. They said “Torchy,” with a red-headed panther woman painted on the side was made at Malton.
“Here’s the thumb that rocked Berlin,” grinned P.O. Dodman, holding up the hand with which he released his bomb-loads on enemy targets.
The airmen said they “never had a single motor fail … got back promptly …
“We did have some … looking holes in th… ever,” Rodman added.
He was the lone … spoke lightly of it … he got in the eye … Berlin “only held … a week and gave … the week off.”
A souvenir they … an R.C.A.F. Mo… one of a few ma… in England. The … one maple leaf in… air force bulls-eye … one they brought … of three.
“What trip …ing?” Shuman … tion only a … there was … about.”
Approach … photographs … [different] pers… through with … - all of us … hoe coming … Rodman’s … first they …
Flt.-Sgt John Morris Missing
Flt. Sgt, John Morris, 21, is missing following air operations on July 5, according to a telegram received Sunday by his wife, 28 Colborne street. The telegram said that further information would follow when available.
Flt.-Sgt. Morris was a member of crews chosen to fly Canadian built Lancaster bombers on their first operational missions and he was a member of the RCAF’s famous “Moose” squadron, according to an air force news story released June 30 last.
Enlisting in the RCAF in October … he had been overseas since July 1943. On July 3, 1943 … [married] Beth Walker, who re- … her parents. In was on … taking place two days … wedding anniversary … ssing from. In a letter … quite a while ago … that he had been on …[operational] flights over [enemy territory].
… educated in Brantford … employed at Galt Metal In … when he joined the air [force] June 1943 he received … as an air gunner at [Mont Joli], Que. Flt.-Sgt Morris [is] 22 years of age next month.
Now Reported Safe
Flt.-Sgt. John Morris, son of Mrs. W. Morris, 25 Wilkins Street, who was reported missing after air operations, July 5, is now reported to have arrived safely in the United Kingdom. This information was received by his mother, in a cablegram from Ottawa.
ONTARIO AIRMAN HID 2 MONTHS IN SEWERS
Ottawa, Nov. 23-(CP)- P.O. J. Morris of Galt, under the protection of the Underground movement in Paris for two months before the Americans entered the city, more than once had to abandon his hideout and flee through the maze of sewers to find a new abode. Morris, on his 15th operational trip as an air-gunner, was shot down over France last July. He since has returned to Canada. He travelled more than five miles of the sewers of Paris … hearing through the Underground that the Gestapo was on his trail and that he would have to [move.]
Morris lost 15 pounds during the two months, but it wasn’t because of “… food” he said. “It was because … had to sit there and sweat it … And I’ll tell you, at times I [really] did sweat.”
The Globe and Mail, Monday, October 27 1947
Welcome Guest at Galt Hid Flier From Nazis
Galt, Oct. 26 (Special). - A heroine of the Free French Movement who helped save the life of a Galt airman in 1944 is now his guest. She is Mrs. Harvey de Blanc, wife of a United States soldier living in New York. The airman she saved is Pilot Officer John Morris, Forest Rd., now a postman.
Mrs. de Blanc is visiting the Morris family while she awaits a visa to permit her to enter the United States. Her father is an Englishman who made his home in Paris. Her husband has visited her here.
The Galt airman was shot down in a raid over Paris early in July, 1944, and landed uninjured near the home of Jacqueline Brook (Mrs. de Blanc), her mother and sister at Melun, Seine-et-Marne. The women, risking reprisals by the Gestapo, took the airman into their home, where they kept him hidden for four days despite day and night visits by the Germans.
In the meantime the Brooks contacted the French resistance forces and arrangements were made for removal of Morris to Paris. However, he wasn’t safe even in the French capital with the Gestapo continually on his trail and he was constantly shifting hideouts, travelling more than five miles through the sewers of Paris.
The Paris underground successfully protected him for two months and when the United States troops entered the French city Morris was able to come out of hiding. He immediately visited the United States Army headquarters, soon was back in Britain where he rejoined his squadron. In the two months he was in hiding in Paris, Morris lost 15 pounds.
Mrs. de Blanc, anxious to come to America to rejoin her husband who went to Paris a year after the war to marry her, decided first to come to Canada to await her United States visa and the only person she knew in the Dominion was Johnny Morris. She received a warm invitation and now she is a guest at the Morris home.
Photograph of Pilot Officer John Morris with Mrs. Jacqueline de Blanc (Jacqueline Brook) together in Galt, Ontario (now Cambridge, Ontario) holding a silk escape map. John Morris was hidden at the home of Jacqueline Brook (Mrs. de Blanc), her mother and sister at Melun, Seine-et-Marne. The women, risking reprisals by the Gestapo, took the airman into their home, where they kept him hidden for four days despite day and night visits by the Germans.
Photograph of Pilot Officer John Morris (centre front) surrounded by other smiling air men. This photograph was likely taken after the war as many can be seen wearing their ribbons + Bar for overseas service.
Reverse captioned "Galt Reporter"
Press typewritten caption unfortunately missing/illegible.
Photograph of John Morris and his crew standing in their flight gear next to Avro Lancaster KB700 the Ruhr Express, Canada's first operational overseas Lancaster manufactured at Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.
Photograph of John Morris seated at a table with two other airmen - Pilot at his right, and a Warrant Officer 2nd Class at his right. The table has maps and charts on it, possibly a debriefing after an operation.
Photograph of John Morris standing on top of an Avro Lancaster while cleaning the guns of the mid-upper turret.
Reverse captioned: ing the guns ... kite ... T - "Torchy"
Photograph of John Morris and another crew member looking out the port side window of the cock pit of an Avro Lancaster.