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MORRISON, George Noel Irving (1893-1971)

MORRISON, George Noel Irving (1893-1971),

George Noel Irving Morrison, of the British Foreign Officer, was a grandson of the first Principal, George Morrison. Born on 26 December 1893, the eldest of three sons of Dr Reginald Herbert Morrison and Elizabeth Janet nee Prophit, of Toorak. Morrison was a boarder at the Geelong College from 1906 to 1912 rowing in the 1st VIII in 1911 and 1912. In 1913 he became a resident at Ormond College, University of Melbourne, where he completed 2nd year Medicine but the war undermined this career. He rowed in the 1st Maiden Eights at Henley Regatta in 1913. After enlisting in the AIF in August 1914 as a Private in the AAMC and receiving a posting to 2nd Field Ambulance, 1st Australian Division, he went to Egypt, where he was discharged from the AIF on 19th April 1915, in order to join the British Army.

He joined the 11th Black Watch on 19th May, and was promoted 2nd Lieutenant in June. He was a Captain with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in December 1916, and Brigade Bombing Officer 9th Reserve (Highland Brigade) from October 1916 until May 1917. At this time he was seconded to the Egyptian Army (13th Sudanese), and promoted Bimbashi (Major) on 24th June 1917. He was awarded the Order of the Nile, gazetted 14th January 1919, and the Sudan GS Medal with Clasp, gazetted on 22nd January 1919; he was Mentioned in Despatches on 5th December 1918 and demobilised in Khartoum on 15th September 1920.

In a colourful existence from 1919 to 1945, he worked with the Sudan political Service, firstly as Assistant District Commissioner and District Commissioner in Berber, Nuba Mountains and Kordofan Provinces. Between 1928 and 1944 he was Deputy and then Acting Governor of Nuba Mountains, Darfur, Kordofan, Bahr-el-Ghazal and Upper Nile Provinces. After the outbreak of World War II he was commissioned in 1941 as Officer-In-Charge of the Sudan Defence Forces. These troops included the King’s African Rifles, the Belgian Colonial Force and the Upper Nile Scouts. He was awarded the King Fuad Military Star, Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm and Order of the Crown (Belgium) with Palm. He briefly performed public relations for the Sudanese Government from 1945 to 1946 before rejoining the British Foreign Office as 1st Secretary of the British Embassy in Iraq. Between 1950 and 1954 he was an administrator and advisor in Tripolitania and continued working in the Arabic section of the Foreign Office until 1956.

His younger brother, Lieutenant-Colonel David Irving Morrison (of Sherborne, Dorsetshire), also an Old Geelong Collegian, served with the Punjab Regiment during the Second World War, commanding the 1st Battalion. He was killed, aged 40, on 15 March 1944, and after the war he was buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Grave 12.K.14. David Morrison was Mentioned in Despatches four times, and left a widow, Margaret Gertrude Morrison.

Sources: Affleck, James Geelong Collegians at the Great War; Pegasus; Morrison, G N I Correspondence 10 November 1967.

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