5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
William Armes, known as Morriss was born in 1872 in Kings Lynn, the eldest of three sons of William and Sarah Armes. His two brothers were: Raymond Linay, who lost his life serving with the North Staffordshire Regiment and is also remembered on the Sudbury War Memorial and Reginald John, who joined his brother to serve with the North Staffordshire Regiment and survived the war. Morriss was the managing director of William Armes and Sons, a prosperous coir mat and matting manufacturers in Cornard Road, which was founded by his grandfather. He took over the family business despite setting his heart on a military career. Morriss was unmarried and lived with the family at Hardwicke House, Stour Street in Sudbury.
By 1911 he was living at Chilton Hall, Chilton, Sudbury with his brother Raymond and sister Kathleen. He was a member of the Sudbury Conservative Club and a Freemason and his name was also recorded on their Roll of Honour.
At the outbreak of war he was the commanding officer of the 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, which was a Territorial battalion. He was in command when the battalion embarked on the Aquitania in Liverpool in July 1915, heading for Gallipoli in the eastern Mediterranean.
In a letter to his sister Ethel sent just before he left, he wrote ‘It will be quite a family party out there but Old Man Turk may throw in the sponge before we get there. I look forward to the voyage but not so much to the discomfort and flies when we land’ The battalion landed at Suvla Bay on 10 August 1915, a few days later he was reported ‘wounded but missing’. Private Harvey from Hadleigh told the family after the war that the battalion was under heavy fire, but Lt. Col. Armes went on. He was wounded in the chest but raised himself and was waving his revolver and shouting to his men when he was hit twice more in the face.
His death was not confirmed until the following year. Morriss is recorded as having died aged 43 on 12 August 1915. He has no known grave, and is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.
Morriss is also remembered on the Chilton Church Memorial and a memorial window in St. Gregory’s Church.
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