1367-private-morton-solomon-image58.jpeg
Pte Morton SOLOMON 1893-1916
Australian Jewry Book of Honour The Great War 1914-1918, Harold Boas, Perth, 1923 – p 21

Morton SOLOMON

Regimental Number
1367
Rank
Private
War Service
Egypt and Western Front
Prior Military Service
Nil
Enlistment
19 Jul 1915 at Blackboy Hill, WA
Embarkation
18 Nov 1915 from Adelaide, SA, on the HMAT A2 Geelong
Next of Kin
Father - Sol Solomon, 47 Hay Street, Subiaco, Western Australia
Date & Place of Birth
Nov 1893, Pittsburgh, USA
Parents
Cecilia, nee ADOLPH (deceased) and Solomon SOLOMON
Marital Status
Single
Siblings
One sister, Cora
Occupation
Optician
Physical Description
5 feet 6 1/2 inches, 130 pounds (168.9cm, 59.0kg)
Eyes brown, Hair black, Complexion dark
Religion
Jewish
Fate
Killed in Action, 19 Jul 1916, Fromelles, France - aged 22
Place of Burial
No known grave
Commemorated
V.C. Corner, (Panel 6), Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Positively Identified
No

Morton SOLOMON, by Peter Allen

Story text (with minor edits and additions) is reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, the Australian Jewish Historical Society on behalf of Peter M. Allen.

~ ~ ~

Morton Solomon was born in Pittsburgh, USA, in 1893, to Cecilia and Solomon (Sol) Solomon, an ophthalmic optician. Morton also trained as an optician and by July 1913 the family - with daughter Cora and stepmother Esther - had arrived in Western Australia and opened the Opticians Parlor - Solomon and Son in Hay St, Perth.

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Letterhead for the family business of Solomon & Son, opticians – run by Solomon and his son Morton. Both Morton and his sister, Cora, qualified as opticians though the business was sold after Morton’s death and continued to operate until 1919. Newspaper reports indicate that Cora operated as an optician for many years in Western Australia.
source NAA: B2455, SOLOMON, Morton – First AIF Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920, page 46

Age 21, he enlisted at Blackboy Hill Camp in the AIF’s 32nd Battalion (D Company) on 19 July 1915 as No. 1367 Private Morton Solomon. He trained at the camp before the battalion combined with South Australians, subsequently embarking aboard HMAT A2 Geelong from Adelaide on 18 November 1915.

morton-solomon-by-peter-allen-image3.jpeg
A group of recruits at the Blackboy Hill Training camp on 30th August 1915 – during the time Morton was in camp. Only one soldier in this group has been positively identified, Jack Joyce, 32nd Battalion, standing at far right. A member of the 28th Battalion (Harry Brankstone) is also in the group but not identified.
source State Library of Western Australia, World War 1 Centenary Project, 4419B

They arrived at Suez, Egypt, one month later. In January he spent two weeks in a Field Hospital with an ‘inflamed corn on left foot’ and:

“Found guilty, 16 May 1916, of holding a conversation with a prisoner in the guard tent: admonished.”

From Egypt to France

The Battalion, part of the 8th Brigade, joined the newly raised 5th Australian Division in Egypt, sailing from Alexandria on 17 June to join the British Expeditionary Force. They disembarked at Marseilles on 23 June for the Western Front in the north of France, 20km west of Lille, at Fleurbaix.

Having only entered the front-line trenches three days previously, the 32nd fought its first major battle, at Fromelles on 19-20 July. According to the Australian War Memorial website, the attack was a disastrous introduction for the 32nd and it suffered 718 casualties. This was almost 75 per cent of the battalion's total strength, but closer to 90 per cent of its actual fighting strength. Many men were killed during the pre-assault phases by enemy or ‘friendly’ artillery fire, while many advanced too far and got lost in no-man’s land or were cut-off by the German counter-attack – the result of poor planning, maps, and communication.

Morton’s record gives no indication of the circumstances of his death, only that a Court of Enquiry in September determined that he was ‘Killed in Action on 19 July 1916’ – exactly one year after his official enlistment.

morton-solomon-by-peter-allen-image4.png
Death notice published by family after being notified of Morton’s death. Note that his father, Solomon, had pre-deceased Morton, dying aged 51 in January 1916 while Morton was in Egypt.

No grave - but never forgotten

As he has no known grave, Private Morton Solomon’s name is engraved on Panel 6 at VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles, Lille, Nord Pas de Calais, France.

He was one of ten Jews amongst the 2,000 diggers killed at the Battle of Fromelles: Australia’s – and Australian Jewry’s - worst-ever 24 hours.

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Private Morton SOLOMON 1893-1916
source Australian Jewry Book of Honour The Great War 1914-1918, Harold Boas, Perth, 1923 – p 21
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Annotations to Morton’s AIF file showing the issue of his three military service medals to his sister Cora, as his nearest blood relative. His stepmother, Esther, became his next of kin after his father’s death but Cora had prior claim to his medals and memorial plaque. The file also records that Morton’s 1914/15 Star was found on a street in Wellington, New Zealand in 1924 after Cora had lost it there. Fortunately, the medal was handed to authorities and returned to Cora who was then living in Melbourne.
source NAA: B2455, SOLOMON, Morton – First AIF Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920, page 64
morton-solomon-by-peter-allen-image6.jpeg
Morton Solomon’s name is recorded on the Jewish War Memorial and on the Subiaco Fallen Soldiers Memorial – May they be remembered for a blessing.
source Jewish War Memorial, King’s Park, Perth, Monument Australia website
morton-solomon-by-peter-allen-image7.JPG
Plaque on the Subiaco Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Rankin Gardens, Subiaco
source Virtual War Memorial Australia – photo by Gordon Stuart

DNA is still being sought for family connections to

SoldierMorton SOLOMON 1893-1916 born Pittsburgh, USA
ParentsSolomon SOLOMON b. 1864 Russia, d. 1916, Western Australia
and Cecilia ADOLPH b. 1867 Germany, d. 1907 Pennsylvania, USA
1 Sibling: Cora (married Leon Woodman 1928, later divorced)
Grandparents
PaternalUnknown
MaternalIsaac ADOLPH b. 1841 Germany d. 1903 Ohio, USA and Rosa Levy b. abt 1841 Germany d. 1915 Pennsylvania USA

Links to unofficial records

Australian Jewish Historical Society: SOLOMON, Morton

NLA Call No FERG/4003: Australian Jewry Book of Honour: The Great War, 1914-1918, Harold Boas, 1923

Seeking DNA Donors

Fromelles Association of Australia

Contacts

The Fromelles Association welcomes all contact regarding this soldier.
(Contact: royce@fromelles.info or geoffrey@fromelles.info).
We also urge any family members to contact and register with the Australian Army
(Contact: army.uwc@defence.gov.au or phone 1800 019 090).

Donations

The Fromelles Association maintains this web site, purely by donations received.
If you are able, please contribute to the upkeep of this resource.
(Contact: bill@fromelles.info ).