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Obituary: Military Cross hero Bryan Morwood saved his comrades in prison battle

Bryan Morwood, who has died at 91, will be remembered as a WW2 soldier hero who won the Military Cross in Greece in 1944.

The young lieutenant with the Royal Artillery was defending Averoff Prison in Athens, where hundreds of communists were being held, against attack by the forces of the ELAS movement determined to free their comrades.

The British Airborne troops were isolated at the compound for several days and were short of supplies and ammunition. But Morwood, despite carrying several shrapnel wounds, managed with his men to get supplies to them under heavy fire.

And the former Larne Grammar head boy managed to withdraw his troops and reorganise the defence. Only after this had been achieved did he agree to have his wounds dressed. He then continued to supervise the defence for a further two hours, until he was shot in the leg.

The citation for his MC stated: "Not only did this officer save the lives of his men, but it was also largely due to him that the small garrison managed to hold out."

Bryan Morwood was born in 1922, the son of a sergeant in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. His mother died when he was young and he was brought up by an aunt. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery, serving with an anti-aircraft unit before seeing action as a field gunner in North Africa and Italy after which he was deployed to Greece.

He joined up in 1946 with 6 Airborne Division in Palestine and following intensive parachute training, became an observation officer dealing with Jewish and Arab terrorists. In 1947 he left the Army and went to St John's College, Cambridge, to read Natural Sciences. After graduating, in 1950 he married Muriel Davison, who had been head girl to his head boy at Larne Grammar.

The couple latger moved to Kenya, where Morwood taught near Nairobi before returning to Northern Ireland where he become a housemaster at Portora Royal School until he retired in 1986. He is survived by his three sons. His wife Muriel pre-deceased him 10 years ago.

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