Thomas Clifton MORRISS
Known to all as "Cliff"

Service Number: NZ428414
RNZAF Trade: Wireless Operator Group II
Date of Enlistment: 13th of July 1942
Date of Demob: 9th of November 1945
Rank Achieved: Leading Aircraftsman
Flying Hours: nil as aircrew
Operational Sorties: nil

Date of Birth: 21st of January 1922, in Cambridge
Personal Details: Cliff was the son of Thomas Moore (Tom) Morriss and Saremma Morriss of Cambridge. He was the brother of another Cambridge Airman, Arthur "Digger" Morriss. Cliff was married to Joan (nee Cowie, now Joan Epps).

He was educated at Cambridge District High School for one and a half years. He then became a cadet at the Post and Telegraph School in Wellington, learning the trade of P&T Operator. He was to carry on this role as a part-time soldier in the Territorials, and then further once he entered the RNZAF.

Service Details: Cliff Morriss transferred to the RNZAF from the Territorial Army in 1942. He had previously served in the Waikato Mounted Rifles as a Territorial Soldier from the 1st of November 1941 through till the 9th of July 1942.

Though already quite experienced from his civil training, he had trained as a ground-based Wireless Operator in the Army, doing a course in March-April 1942 at the AFV Wireless School.

Upon entering the RNZAF, Cliff was sent to an Aerodrome Defence Unit for a short period at RNZAF Station Wigram, and then he commenced a further course in August 1942 at the Electrical and Wireless School, Wigram.

Upon completing that course he was posted overseas with No. 14 Squadron RNZAF, who were flying P40 Kittyhawks. He was based initially at Espiritu Santos, and then moved up to Guadalcanal. On completion of his time with No. 14 Squadron he received a Special Recommendation for promotion for his services to the squadron from Wing Commander Ron Kirkup.

After a tour in the islands, he was returned to New Zealand, and found himself sent to Waiouru, in winter! There was eight inches of snow on the ground, not nice when you've just arrived back from the tropics.

After some time at Waiouru he returned to the islands, but his health gave in, and he was returned to New Zealand to see out the war.

Details of Death: Cliff died on the 24th of May 1958 at Cambridge, aged 36 years.
Buried at: Hautapu Cemetery , Cambridge (RSA Cemetery Plot: Plot 5 Row B)

Connection with Cambridge: Cliff was born in Cambridge and was a Cambridge resident before and after the war

Thanks To: The late Joan Epps (Cliff's widow) who helped with details on this page.


From Cliff Morriss's Service Records

Unit From Unit To Date wef
Enlistment (from NZ Territorial Army)
Aerodrome Defence Unit, Wigram
13 July 1942
Aerodrome Defence Unit, Wigram
Electrical & Wireless School, Wigram
30 November 1942
Electrical & Wireless School, Wigram
Final Leave (on completing course)
5 March 1943
Final Leave
RNZAF Station Norfolk Island
27 March 1943
RNZAF Station Norfolk Island
No. 14 Squadron, "Buttons", Espiritu Santos
14 April 1943
No. 14 Squadron, "Buttons" , Espiritu Santos
No. 1 (Islands) Group
31 July 1943
No. 1 (Islands) Group
12 December 1943
Base Depot Reception Pool, Espiritu Santos
18 April 1944
Base Depot Reception Pool, Espiritu Santos
Personnel Reception Depot RNZAF Mangere
20 April 1944
Personnel Reception Depot, RNZAF Mangere
Waiouru (moved to New Zealand)
10 May 1944
OTP Swanson (for transit overseas)
29 November 1944
OTP Swanson
Base Depot Transit Pool
10 January 1945
Base Depot Transit Pool
No. 6 (Flying Boat) Squadron
14 January 1945
No. 6 (Flying Boat) Squadron
14 May 1945
Base Depot Transit Pool
20 May 1945
Base Depot Transit Pool
Personnnel Repratriation Pool
21 May 1945
Personnnel Repratriation Pool
7 June 1945
Reserve 'D'
10 November 1945

Photos From Cliff Morriss's Private Collection
Courtesy of his widow, Mrs Joan Epps

The following captions are taken from handwriting on the back of the snaps. If any names have
been misconstrued and reproduced wrongly here, I apologise.

Above: It is thought that this photo was taken whilst Cliff was in the Territorials.
Cliff is crouching on the right of the photo

Above: Class 4, AFV Wireless School (March and April 1942)
This is while Cliff was still in the Territorial Army.

Wireless Operators Class
Wigram (August 1942)
Back Row: D.V. Kirkwood; Corporal P (Joe) De Muth; L. Hannibal, P. Kibblewaithe (sic)
Middle Row: W. Tewton; R.W. Millar; J. Gasson; W.N. Simpson; G. Hawkins; P. Tyrell; J. Wright; L. Williams
Front Row: L.G. Payne (alias "Tiger"); E O'Loan; L. Hodson (Snow); L. Davis (Morse Instructor);
Sgt V. Moulton (Drill Sgt); L. Looser; Cliff Morriss ("Toad"); J.M. Webb; A.M. Slater

Note: The date, when compared with his Service Records, indicates this would have been whilst this
course was still part of the Wigram Aerodrome Defence Unit. It makes sense that they may have all been
together and moved onto the E&W School together, hence the reason Cliff marked the photo as Wireless
Operators Class Flight 3. Can Anyone clear this up please?

Wireless Operators Class
(Wigram 1942)
No names are written on the rear of the photo, but Cliff is on the right hand end of the back row

Wireless Operators Class
Flight 3, Wigram (August 1942)
No names given, but the photo below shows individual's signatures on the rear of the photo


W39 Electrical and Wireless School

Members and Postings
Back Row: Thomas Clifton Morriss (No 15 Sqn Overseas); W.B. Tewton (Seagrove); P.C. Kibblewhite (Nelson);
J.M. Webb (Whenuapai); R.C. Miller (Seagrove); W.N. Simpson (Nelson)
Third Row: W.N. Cooper (Gisborne); M.N. Williams (No 15 Sqn Overseas); J.K. Marshall (Waipapakauri);
R.J. Nicholls (Waipapakauri); L.A. Holmes (Ohakea); J.H. Gasson (Ohakea)
Second Row: N. Hibberd (Whenuapai); A.M. Slater (Onerahi); R. Carrell (Gisborne); J. Bregwian (Northen Group);
D.R. Holden (Norwood); L. Hodson (Ohakea); W. Mai (Ohakea)
Front Row: P.S. ("Joe") De Muth (Onerahi); A.D. Covehman (Hamilton); Corporal J. Phillips (Instructor);
L.G. ("Tiger") Payne (Norwood); E.P. O'Loan (Northern Group)

Here is an anomaly - thpugh his official records state several times that Cliff joined No. 14 Squadron
at Espiritu Santos, his own caption a photo says he was posted to No. 15 Squadron instead. Due to this
I have repeated Cliff's caption as he wrote it, though this may have been written before he actually left
NZ and is probably a mistake.

Above: Not a great shot, but this is Cliff at work on communication equipment

Above: This snow greeted Cliff on his return from the tropics. This is the RNZAF Hut Lines at Waiouru Military Camp
taken in August 1944. The rear of the photo states there was 7 inches of snow on the ground.

For several more of Cliff Morriss's Pacific photos click here for
RNZAF Pacific Photos


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