Fred Moffatt, Private 7435, 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Killed in action 20th July 1916 in Somme, France, aged 20
Fred Moffatt was born in 1895, the only son of Mary and Buckley Frederick Moffatt, Headmaster of Sutton St James school. In 1901, five-year-old Fred was living at Parvey Cottages, Higher Sutton, with his parents and siblings Ann (11), Marian (9) and Gertrude (7). By 1911 the family had moved to “The Beeches”, 53 Byrons Lane, Macclesfield, and they later moved to “Burnside”, Lyme Avenue, London Rd, Macclesfield.
Fred was educated at Sutton St James School and Macclesfield Grammar School. He was in the St James Church choir and was a member of St Georges Bible Association in Canton Street, Macclesfield.
After leaving school, Fred found employment as a clerk with the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Manchester.
Fred enlisted with the 20th (University and Public Schools) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers at Manchester in June 1915, and whilst in training at Tidworth was a member of the team which won the 33rd Divisional Cross-Country Championship. He was a Signaller, drafted to France on 15th November 1915, and went missing during fighting at High Wood, in the Somme region of France.
The news that Fred was missing was published in the Macclesfield Times of 18th August 1916:
MISSING SOLDIER – PRIVATE F MOFFATT
Mr and Mrs Buckley F Moffatt, of Lyme Avenue, London Road, Macclesfield, received an official notification on Monday morning informing them that their only son, Private Fred Moffatt, of the 20th Batt Royal Fusiliers (University and Public Schools) has been posted as missing. He had been serving in France since last November.
Private Moffatt was born at Sutton twenty years ago and educated at St James’ School, where his father is the Headmaster, and at the Macclesfield Grammar School. He had since been engaged as a clerk in the invoice department of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Balloon Street, Manchester. Private Moffatt joined the University and Public Schools’ Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in June 1915, and was drafted out to France early in November of the same year. Ever since then he had been in the fighting line and had not had a furlough. While in training at Tidworth, before leaving England he was a member of the team which won the 33rd Divisional Cross-Country Championship. Private Moffatt was formerly in the choir at St James’ Church, and was a member of the St Georges Bible Association, Canton Street.
The news that Fred was missing was also published in the Macclesfield Courier of 19th August 1916:
PRIVATE MOFFATT MISSING
News has been received… that Private F B Moffatt is missing. Mr Fawkner, of Great King Street, has received a letter from his son, Private Frank Fawkner… “He survived the attack during the day time and was last seen late the same night retreating with our boys before a strong German counter-attack, so that, in all probability, he has been taken prisoner.”
Fred was later presumed to have died on or after 20th July 1916. His body was not found and identified until the 1930s.
Elsewhere, he is commemorated on the Sutton (Walker Lane), Sutton (St James’s Church), Sutton School and the Manchester Co-operative Wholesale Society war memorials, and on the family gravestone in Sutton St James’ Churchyard.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 18th August 1916
Macclesfield Courier: 19th August 1916