Pte Dudley cross

28111 Private (Bugler) Morgan Dudley    

Bugler Morgan Dudley attested into the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders) at Valcartier camp in Quebec on September 22, 1914. His attestation papers state that he was born in Birmingham, England and that he had served three years in the Canadian Militia with the 48th Highlanders. His residence was listed as 707 Pape Avenue Toronto and his father Henry Charles Dudley was listed as next-of-kin . Bugler Dudley was originally posted to H Company but following the unit’s reorganization from the pre-war eight company structure to the new British four company or ‘double company’ organization, he was posted to No. 4 Company.  

Following the battles of 2nd Ypres in April and Festubert in May 1915, the 15th Battalion in September of that same year was in the line at Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium. On September 29, 1915 Private Morgan Dudley was killed in action by shrapnel from German artillery near the convent of St Yves at the south end of Ploegsteert Wood. His body was carried out of the line to Battalion HQ and he was buried in a cemetery to the rear of that location. Following the war that cemetery became the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery known as Lancashire Cottage Cemetery. Private Dudley lies in Plot II. Row D. Grave 7.  

At the time of his wartime burial a simple wood cross with a metal tag containing his particulars was erected over his grave. Following the war, these markers were replaced with the stone headstones of the CWGC seen in their cemeteries to this day. Although the details are not known, the family of Private Dudley obtained his wartime wooden grave marker and at some point thereafter it became the property of the Toronto District School Board which has graciously loaned the artifact to the Regimental Museum to be on display during the centenary of the Great War.  

As a point of interest, Private Dudley gave no year of birth on his Attestation record and his Battalion Record of Services card has no record of his age. His grave marker indicates that he was 17 years of age when he was killed. Boys under 18 could enlist with their parents’ permission but Private Dudley must have been at least 16 years of age when he joined the 15th Battalion making him one of the Battalion’s youngest Fallen.