ADF personnel and NSW Police officers gathered at a historic cemetery in the NSW town of Corowa on November 2 to pay tribute to a man who served valiantly in both organisations.
Tom Morris was born in 1876 in the NSW Hunter Valley town of Singleton.
He joined the NSW Lancers at the age of 22 and fought in the Boer War in South Africa, taking part in 10 engagements.
Trooper Morris was the first Australian nominated for a Victoria Cross.
He was not awarded the prestigious medal, and when asked about it later in life, he reportedly replied: “if they don’t like to give it to me, I’m not going to ask for it.”
Trooper Morris caught typhoid and returned to Australia in 1900.
He later joined the NSW Police Force, rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class.
During his policing career, he was involved in a shoot-out with a bushranger named Batson in Jingellic on the NSW-Victoria border and led the arrest of the Staghorn Flat murderer.
He died in 1955 having been awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal, with clasps, and the Imperial Service Medal.
He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in the border town of Corowa.
The Commanding Officer of the 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew White, laid a wreath at Trooper Morris’ grave during the recent commemorative service.
“This is a man who represents the best of both organisations,” Lieutenant Colonel White said.
Lieutenant Colonel White led the ADF’s NSW-Victoria border check point contingents deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist.
“It seems particularly important that we remember this great soldier and police officer at this time after our two organisations came together so effectively and productively to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” he said.