Lieutenant Colonel G. F. Morrison, D.S.O.
19th and 18th Battalions
It is presumed by the police that Morrison lay down on the chesterfield, and pressing the gun against his left breast, pulled the trigger. The bullet passed through the body below the heart and went out through the back lodging in the chesterfield. Examination of the army automatic found on the floor showed the only other bullet had jammed in the ejector.
(Toronto Globe, 14 Jul 1931, 11)
Major Gordon Fraser Morrison led the 19th Battalion through the first stage of the battle of the Somme in summer until commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel W. R. Turnbull recovered. On 9 October 1916, Morrison transferred to take command of the 18th when Henry L. Milligan returned to Canada following the death of his wife. Born in Toronto on 16 October 1884, Morrison was a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles, a mining executive and stockbroker with Pellet & Pellet. His grandfather, Angus Morrison had been mayor of Toronto in the 1870s.
Morrison remained in command of the 18th until shortly after the battle of Vimy Ridge. He was admitted to hospital (sick) and relinquished command to Major Louis Elgin Jones on 19 April 1917. After his return to Canada, Morrison worked for the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment and resumed his investing career.
On the 13 July 1931, the front page headline of the Toronto Star announced, “COL G. F. MORRISON SHOT.” Morrison was rushed to the emergency at Toronto General Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest but died shortly thereafter.
The police soon ruled out foul play and determined the cause of death was suicide. The press reported that Morrison had been greatly depressed the week prior due to certain business transactions. Months before he had been suspended from his firm due to irregular activates in oil stocks. On the day of his death, Morrison had met with business partners who reported that the colonel was “greatly worried.” The press did not connect the cause for suicide with his wartime service.