Brigadier C E Morrison DSO MC
Commanding Officer - The East Surrey Regiment & (The Leicestershire Regiment)
Commanded the BRITISH BATTALION (1st Bn The Leicestershire Regiment and 2nd Bn The East Surrey Regiment) from 20th December 1941 to 15th February 1942 when Singapore was surrendered.
Charles Esmond Morrison was born on 17th June 1893 and was commissioned in The Leicestershire Regiment in February 1915. In the 1914-18 War he served in France and Belgium and was awarded the Military Cross and Mentioned in Despatches. Between the wars he served in India, Palestine and Malaya. From April 1929 to December 1933 he was ADC to the Governor of Bombay and in 1939 was serving in Malaya as Director of Military Training Johore. After commanding 1st Bn The Leicestershire Regiment he commanded the British Battalion, which was formed on 20th December 1941 from the survivors of 1 Leicester’s and 2 Surreys, until 15th February 1942 when Singapore was surrendered. He was awarded the DSO for his outstanding leadership during the Malayan Campaign. His personal courage and dignified bearing were an inspiration to the men of the British Battalion and others during those terrible three and a half years of captivity. Few who witnessed it will forget seeing him struck in the face again and again by a Japanese NCO (?) and then retrieve his glasses from the mud and walk away unruffled. He was again Mentioned in Despatches in September 1946. He retired from the Army on 23rd December 1948.
He died on 1st May 1966.
For obituary see the Journal of The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment Vo1.2 No.6 December 1966 page 437.
Lieut.-Colonel C. E. Morrison, D.S.O., who commanded the .British Battalion, received the following letter from Sir T. L. Hunton, K.C.B., M.V.O.. O.B.E., Commandant General, Royal Marines, in December, 1945.
"On the return of our prisoners of war from S.E.A.C. I have heard reports of your very great kindness to Capt. Aylwin, Lieut. Verdin, and N.C.Os. and Marines in the P.O.W. camp in Thailand. In the internal reorganization of P.O.W; personnel into Working Battalions, it seems that the Royal Marines were attached to what was known as the British Battalion, which had been formed in Singapore from the remnants of the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and the 2nd Battalion The East Surrey Regiment.
My officers have spoken to me of the great benefits they enjoyed during the period of some two and a half years, not only through association with your fine Battalion, but also materially from the battalion funds and medical supplies for which your foresight had made provision.
As Commandant General, Royal Marines, I should like to thank you, your Second-in Command, Major Harvey, and the Adjutant, Major Wallis, for the keen interest you took in the welfare of my troops. I do hope that they will let me know to what extent your funds have been used on behalf of the Royal Marines so that I may take action to reimburse them. I am most grateful to you all.
See East Surrey Regt. Journal November 1946 p.133