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HIS LIFE                                            

Sidney Morgan was born at Avondale, opposite Westbourne Church. He was the third child of Frank and Ellen Morgan, a brother for Freda and Ralph and the grandson of James Covington, who held many notable posts in the village including organist for 52 years, headmaster and publican!

Sidney’s paternal grandfather, Francis, had moved to Westbourne around 1878 and had set up Morgan & Son in North Street. When Sidney was about three months old and with his father in the army, his mother and the three children moved to Manchester House, adjacent to the shop, to help look after his grandfather and to assist in the shop. In those days the house had no mains drainage and had a stable out the back for one horse and two carts – one used for country rounds and the other for station work.

 There was no traffic about on Sidney’s first day at school.  He remembered the infant teacher walking up North Street with a string of children either side of her, hand in hand.  Sidney was waiting at the door of Manchester House with his mother and joined the line for the walk to school. After leaving Westbourne School Sidney went with his brother to Manor House in Havant, walking to Emsworth Station, or on occasions, having to walk to Havant, until his father bought him a bike.

At 15 Sidney started work as an apprentice at Knight & Lee in Southsea. His father had paid £50 for a three year apprenticeship to “learn the drapery trade”. This paid for his accommodation and food and he returned home at weekends on his bike.  It was at Knight & Lee that he first met Nora and they were married at St Mary’s Church, Portsmouth in 1936.

During the war Sidney was initially flying Tiger Moths, before going to America for training. He was grounded due to sinus trouble and sent back to England where he remustered as an armourer. He was eventually sent to Tangmere where he was still stationed on D-Day. During the war, two bombs were dropped on Westbourne causing windows to be blown out, one on a cowshed at Monks Hill and the other at Cemetery Lane. Sidney recalled being sent up to Stansted when a German fighter crashed there.

 After the war Sidney returned to the shop and subsequently took over from his father. With its variety of items available, it was a regular emporium. The solid wooden counters and shelving (still there!) with Sidney sat doing the accounts in the pulpit desk in the corner bring back fond memories.  Every August the shop would have its sale and people would queue down the street waiting for the doors to open.

He became the youngest serving Chairman of the Parish Council, a school manager and set up the Sunday cricket team. His children married Derek to Jan Allmark and Carolyn to Peter Pugsley.  Grandchildren Julia, Gina, Neil and Alex followed.

In 1986, Morgan & Son closed its doors for the last time after 108 years. Sidney took on delivering Meals on Wheels and nurtured his garden which he loved. There were family celebrations and telegrams from the Queen, as Nora and Sidney celebrated 70 years of marriage together. They were devoted to one another but sadly Nora died in 2008 aged 94. In 2011 Carolyn died after 22 years of suffering with Alzheimer’s.

And so, Sidney entered his late nineties, determined to stay at home which, with help from Paula, his carer, and daily visits from his son-in-law Peter, he managed until the last week of his life. When admitted to hospital and answering a few questions, the doctor ended up by asking him if he knew who we were. He looked at my father and myself, gave a broad smile and said “Never seen them before in my life!!” His Morgan sense of humour intact to the very end after 99½ years.


 Sleep easy now, Grandpa.

 From the Morgan Family  

SIDNEY FRANCIS MORGAN  26 March 1915 – 15 November 2014

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