Hugh Morton was born in Bow, in the East End of London in 1889. Hugh’s mother and father had moved to London from Scotland and by 1871 were running a draper’s shop in Mile End.
At this time, many Scots, especially from the border region and the sons of prosperous farmers, set up draper’s. It is thought that Scottish drapers had an advantage in that they had good contacts with Northern wool and linen suppliers. Credit drapers generally sold goods to the poor working class rather than the wealthy. However, it was possible to make a good living, as the majority of customers became regulars. Their customers were able to pay regular amounts off their account while continuing to purchase more items.
The business prospered and after Hugh’s father died in 1906, his widow moved to a house called ‘Bransfield’ on Eagle Lane, Snaresbrook, where she was living at the time of the 1911 census with her three youngest children, including Hugh, then aged 22 years old.
Hugh was employed as a surveyor/estate agent with a company based in London which managed estates throughout London. With his Scottish connections, when war broke out it was natural for Hugh to volunteer with the 1/14th (County of London) Battalion, known as ‘the London Scottish’. His battalion had landed in France in September 1914 and fought at some of the earliest battles of the war, including Ypres, Mons, Marne and the Aisne.
In March 1915, the London Scottish was strengthening the front line. It was during his time here that Hugh was gravely injured. He died of his wounds on 6th April 1915, aged 26.
Research by Wanstead United Reformed Church
Commonwealth War Graves Commission