Herbert Haycroft Morris

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Herbert Haycroft Morris
Nicknames Dot, Doc
Died 30 November 1955(1955-11-30)
Education Bristol Grammar School; Wadham College, Oxford; Caen, France
Roles Headmaster
Years at BGS 1919-1945
Subjects Religious Instruction, Civics
Predecessor James William Dyson
Successor Leslie Thomas Waddams
Spouse Ethel Mary Ridley
Parents Thomas Morris; Elizabeth
Relatives Arthur Ernest Morris (brother)

Herbert Haycroft Morris was appointed as headmaster of Boston Grammar School on 8 August 1919.


Paul Mould Centennial Anthology

Captain Herbert Haycroft Morris MA was appointed headmaster of Boston Grammar School in 1919. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School and Wadham College, Oxford, of which he was an exhibitioner. He continued his studies in France and Germany and took his MA degree in 1907 and a diplome superieur in languages and literature at Caen five years later.

From 1904-1906 he was a housemaster at St. Mary's, Melrose then he was English master at Merchant Taylor's School, Crosby for one year. He was senior classical master from 1907-1914 at the Royal Grammar School, Worcester and senior English master at King Edward's School, Lytham St. Anne's, until he joined the Army in 1915.

Commissioned in the Officers' Training Corps, he was gazetted to the Gloucestershire Regiment in January, 1916. Attached to the 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Cornwalls' Light Infantry, he went out that May to Salonica, where he was seriously injured during an attack on a strong enemy position in the Struma valley. He was invalided home, after several months in a military hospital. His war service left him with a stiff leg, which accounted for the affectionate nickname the boys used for him: Dot (from their early maths lessons dot and carry one).

He married Ethel Mary Ridley, who had come to Boston in 1924 from the County Secondary School, Kentish Town to be headmistress of Boston High School at Allan House in Carlton Road. When they married in 1927, she was obliged to resign.

Captain Morris was very keen on sports and, when the school's magazine, 'The Bostonian', made its appearance in July, 1920, it reported that the house system had been reintroduced with three houses. Inter-house sport flourished and the swimming sports were revived. Another innovation that year was the school concert, which revealed an unexpected wealth of musical talent and was a terrific success under the direction of Gordon Archbold Slater, who was organist and choirmaster at Boston 'Stump' from 1919-1927.

One of Captain Morris's strengths was his ability to attract and retain the services of assistant masters, who were happy to stay at the school for the remainder of the their careers. Frederick Leonard Cox came to Boston Grammar School in September, 1919, the same time as Captain Morris and Francis Robert Howse had arrived earlier in the January and they stayed until 1950 and 1949 respectively. George Ward Border was appointed in 1920 and retired in 1949: he became assistant master, when Arthur 'Cocles' Hill retired in 1929.

Hubert Turpin arrived in 1926 and remained as History master until 1963 and the same year Frank Ronald Gilbert Bastick came as English master, a post he held until 1951. Herbert Matthew Dickson came as head of the science department in 1927 and left in 1962, becoming senior master in 1929, when 'Binky' Border retired.

William Alderson Wilkinson played football for Combined Universities and Leicester City and several clubs wanted him to turn professional, when he came to BGS in 1930 but he stayed as a general teacher and sports master until 1968. John Gledhill arrived in 1937 to head the classics department and also stayed, until his retirement in 1969. His two sons both won the Parry Gold Medal, in 1960 and 1963.

In 1926 the school extension was completed, providing ten extra classrooms, an art room and a manual room together with cloakrooms, lavatories, the headmaster's room, sixth form room with the library overhead and a book cupboard. The old playground was asphalted and in the quadrangle grass was grown between the concrete paths.

Sir Archibold Weigall, the Hign Sheriff of Lincolnshire, performed the official opening of the extensions on 21st October, 1926 and he was accompanied by Admiral Earl Jellicoe of Scapa, who at the time was a guest at his home, Petwood in Woodhall Spa. The Admiral addressed the boys and, appropriately as it was Trafalgar Day, he spoke on Nelson.

The total cost of the new extensions, including the cost of the site, the fencing and laying out of the surrounding grounds, was £24,599.17s.11d. The hall was now used for assembly instead of classrooms. A suggestion by the Old Bostonian Association was adopted that the old, discarded desk lids should be used to line the walls of the room, where Pattenden and White had presided over the years.

An official school party paid a visit to France in 1931 led by FR Howse and the following year he took a group of boys to Belgium. This became an annual event, until it was curtailed by the outbreak of World War 2.

The silver jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary was celebrated at the school by a special outdoor entertainment. Three excerpts from plays, two from 'Alice in Wonderland' and one from 'Twelfth Night', were blended together by J W Lockwood's school orchestra and Richard Root sang 'Gentlemen, the King', 'Spuddy' Root was Bastick's brother-in-law and taught mathematics at Boston Grammar School from 1928 to 1942. He later taught at Bridlington, Woking and finished as senior mathematics master at Doncaster Grammar School.

By the outbreak of World War 2 pupil numbers had reached 350 and a fourth house, Laughton's was formed in 1936 to meet the growth in numbers. In February, 1938 the Board sanctioned expenditure for the acquiring and laying out a new playing field but the scheme went into cold storage, when war came and within two months the field was ploughed up for food production.

When the Air Ministry launched the Air Training Corps, Boston Grammar School formed its own flight with HM Dickson in command. The first parade was held on 25th February, 1941, when 45 cadets were enrolled and the flight was upgraded to a squadron in 1943. By Speech Day in December, 1941 the flight had grown to 90 cadets and a workshop had been fitted out in the old fives court.

By then fixtures with other schools at cricket and football had been temporarily abandoned and the Old Bostonian Sports Club had ceased functioning. Boston Corporation decided to set up a British Restaurant in the Guildhall and the Big School was brought into use as a dining hall, seating 170 pupils and the food was obtained from the Guildhall kitchens.

Talking of Captain Morris in 1944, 'The Bostonian' declared "He was always approachable and sympathetic and during a period of unprecedented expansion and in the difficulties of the second world war period, he devoted himself unstintingly to the service of the school."

The Speech Day that year was postponed from December, 1944 to l5th March, 1945 and the prizes were presented by Alderman Tom Kitwood, making his last appearance as chairman of the governors. It was also Captain Morris's last year as headmaster and presentations were made by CA Burton (1934-1939) on behalf of the Old Bostonian Association and by DK Yarsley. senior prefect, for the school.

Many tributes were paid to Captain Morris on his retirement, including the following, "He was a very great friend to old boys and the doings of Old Bostonian Association were of great interest to him, especially the Sports Club, of which he was president ... Knowing he had their interests at heart, the boys held him in respect and admiration ... He encouraged classical music and the school concert was typical of his determination to raise the level of the musical taste of the boys and their parents ... The second world war brought many difficulties but Mr. Morris never spared himself and was always ready to point out to the boys their duty to their country and to put the resources of the school at the disposal of the authorities."

In 1923 Captain Morris had taken part in the unveiling of the memorial to the forty-two Old Boys killed in World War 1. At a ceremony on Sunday, 8th May, 1949 he returned to unveil the memorial to forty-six former pupils, who lost their lives in World War 2. An address was given by Canon AM Cook, sub-dean of Lincoln Cathedral, who had been a part-time member of the school staff in 1921, when Boston's senior curate. The memorial took the form of an oaken lectern, designed by art and craft master Frederick Jack Grimble, who had joined the staff in 1937 and did not retire fully until 1979.

On retirement Captain Morris moved to Mere, near Warminster in Wiltshire and that was where he died on 30th November, 1955. Alfred H Read, a pupil when Morris first arrived and now President of the Old Bostonian Association, unveiled an oak-framed

Geoff Brooks, Paul Mould Centennial Anthology

Doc (or Dot?) Morris. I don't know which of these is correct. They sound very similar. The justification for 'Dot' is that he was lame and we could hear his 'dot and carry one' walk as he came slowly down the corridor.

He used to take us for Religious Instruction but he was almost always late in arriving at the classroom and sometimes didn't arrive at all. I was at school throughout the War years. He often seemed preoccupied and my abiding memory of him is that he would suddenly break off from what he was saying and repeat sternly several times "Germany must be crushed. Germany must be crushed...". Then he would continue the lesson. He was greatly respected as Headmaster.

Geoff Brooks, Paul Mould Centennial Anthology

'Dot' Morris, the headmaster, taught Religious Instruction and he was liked and revered by all the boys. Unfortunately he left in 1945 and I did not have time to fully appreciate his sterling qualities. My brother had started the Grammar School in 1942 and he often regaled me by telling the story of how 'Dot' Morris used to state to morning assembly this statement: "The war is not yet over; we must put every ounce of strength into our efforts". He emphasised the word 'ounce' by punching forward at an invisible enemy and often lost his balance.

Captain Morris had an artificial leg; a legacy of his war service. He came to Boston Grammar School directly from the First World War and brought with him is batman, Sam Wray, who became the caretaker, and a sergeant, who had served under him, Mr. Burton. The sportsfield down Church Road was the domain of Mr. Burton. He always wore black gaiters and must have been the smartest groundsman in the county.

See Also