1955-1968: Honorary Treasurer
1968-82: Honorary Life Vice President
BA of E Career
1936-51: Lancashire Representative on Council
1936/7-58: England International Selection Committee
1951-75: Vice President
1956-68: Deputy Chairman of Council
1975-82: Honorary Life Vice President
1932-34: Joined Committee of Lancashire and Cheshire BA
1934-48: Secretary of Lancashire and Cheshire BA
1950-55: Chairman of Lancashire and Cheshire BA
1955-58: President of Lancashire and Cheshire BA
1958-1967: First President of the new Lancashire BA
Harold Morland was one of the unsung heroes of national and international badminton.
No one put it better than former IBF President Stuart Wyatt, who in an appreciation of his life in the May 1982 issue of Badminton, wrote: “Here was a man who put back into the game more than he received from it.”
He became only the second IBF Honorary Treasurer in 1955 following the death of fellow Englishman D.L.H. Mercer.
Morland was a Liverpool accountant and liquidator so was well placed to handle the IBF finances. He did so for 13 years and when he retired he was rewarded at the 1968 annual meeting by being made an Honorary Life Vice President.
Morland also did valuable service with the Badminton Association, rising to Vice President before also becoming an Honorary Life Vice President.
Born in the Toxteth, suburb of Liverpool, he served county badminton well, serving in turn as Secretary, Chairman and President of the Lancashire and Cheshire BA up to 1958, and when the counties split, became the first Lancashire President.
His accountancy firm was in central Liverpool so he was well placed to be at the heart of Lancashire badminton.
He served Lancashire from 1932 until April 1967 when he decided not to seek re-election at President. His reward from W.G.P. Birtwistle and his county colleagues was a stereophonic record player and a glowing tribute from ‘Birty’, who went on to be BA of E President.
He said: “This was no ordinary tribute, because it was no ordinary occasion because it was no ordinary man. The debt which Lancashire in particular and badminton in general owed to Mr Morland for his unstinting work and invaluable counsel over a period of 35 years was immeasurable.”
He added that it was “good to hear that Mr Morland’s work for the BA of E and the IBF is not expected to diminish in the foreseeable future.”
Morland’s career as an administrator had begun in 1932 when he was elected Honorary Treasurer of Liverpool Occasionals BC and the same year joined the committee of the former Lancashire & Cheshire BA. From 1934 until 1948 he was secretary and during this time the number of affiliated clubs grew from 100 to 297.
He was chairman from 1950 until 1955 when he became President, and when the counties split he served Lancashire as President for nine years.
He served on the BA of E as Lancashire’s Representative from 1936 until 1951 and was then elected Vice President. He also served as Deputy Chairman of the Council from 1956.
He was the first Northerner to be elected to the England Selection Committee in 1936-37 and served on the International Match Committee from its formation in 1950.
By 1955 he had also taken on the role of Honorary Treasurer of the IBF.
Of course, before he became an administrator he was, according to Birtwistle “a very accomplished and brainy player with an excellent defence.” He played more than 60 times for Lancashire and five times for England between 1936-52, before becoming a Selector.
His playing successes included the three Northern Championships men’s doubles titles with his Lancashire partner, Kenneth L. Wilson. They also won the Welsh Championships in Llandudno and scored a major triumph in beating All England stars Donald Hume and Ralph Nichols 15-1 15-11 in the Logan Invitation tournament. As well as a county badminton player, he also distinguished himself with the Red Rose county at tennis.
He was also a prominent All England Open Championships figure and was even the BBC’s co-commentator with the BBC’s Max Robertson when the All England was televised for the first time in 1957.
Wyatt wrote of Morland’s IBF service: “He was appointed in the same year as I was elected to the Council and for year after year between 1955 and 1968 his re-election was absolutely automatic, irrespective of who was President or Chairman.
“Perhaps compared with today his duties were not so onerous, but he was much more than an expert financial adviser. After all, he was a well known English international and his knowledge of the game was enormous.”
But English badminton, in particular, has a lot to thank him for. He coped well with the financial burdens as tournament badminton began to grow.
More importantly, he was always eager to help others and pass on his experience. His biggest legacy began in 1951-52 when Chairman of the Lancashire and Cheshire BA that he persuaded the council, despite opposition, that coaching should be organised in the two counties.
Wyatt recalled: “He actively supported the project and in 1954 was a member of the first BA of E Coaching Committee. His drive, enthusiasm and thoughtfulness will be missed by many.”
Morland had married Reta in Bromley in 1932 and they had a son, Christopher.
Badminton, May 1982
Badminton England Museum
Lancashire and Cheshire Badminton Associations
The Badminton Gazette, October 1967
-- By William Kings