James Moore, Private 15344, 8th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment
Killed in action 29th August 1916 in the Somme, France, aged 31
James Moore was born in Daventry in 1885, the son of Emma and James Moore, a labourer who was born in Huddersfield. In the 1891 census, taken on 5th April, six-year-old James junior was recorded spending the night in Chipping Norton Union Workhouse with his parents and siblings Jane (20), George (12), Eliza (8), Emily (3) and Margaret (1), the whole family being listed as casual paupers, meaning that they had been given temporary accommodation for one or two nights, and would not be allowed to leave until they had carried out a task of work such as stone-breaking or oakum-picking.
By 1901, the family had moved to 7 Bank St, Macclesfield, and fifteen-year-old James jnr. was living there with his parents and siblings William (26), Eliza (17), Emily (12) and Margaret (10), and was employed as a soap packer. Ten years later in 1911 the family had moved again, to 7 Orchard Passage (off Bank St), and James had found employment as a hawker.
On 6 January 1903 James enlisted in the 4th Cheshire Regiment with service number 5102 for a term of six years service. His Army records show that he lived at 7 Bank St, Macclesfield and worked as a soap packer for Mr Sankey. He was described as 5 feet 7½ inches tall, weighing 132 pounds and had a 34 inch chest, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light hair. The service records also note that he had two older brothers, William and George, the latter serving with the Shropshire Light Infantry with service number 5124. James was discharged from the Army on 5 January 1909 on completion of his term of service.
James married Sarah Jane Palfreyman at St Paul’s Church on 31 January 1912, just four days after his sister Emily married Patrick Kelsall at the same church. He later found employment as a fustian cutter for Mr E Hulme at his Waterside Works.
James enlisted on 22 September 1914, joining the 8th South Lancashire Regiment, which came under command of the 75th Brigade in the 25th Division. His Army service records state that he was employed as a bricklayer’s labourer and had previously served with the 4th Cheshire Regiment. James was described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with a 35 inch chest, and had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. His wife Sarah, who then lived at 9 Lower Bank St, was named as next of kin, and the couple had five children: Florence, James, William Thomas, Jack (died in May 1915, aged 7 months), and Kathleen Mary, born in April 1916. Sarah later moved to 23 Lower Bank St.
On 13 October 1914 James was reprimanded at Chester for being absent without leave from 10pm on 10 October until 7.30am on 13 October, for which he was deprived of 4 days pay and confined to barracks for 7 days. He was later sent to Bournemouth for training, where on 10 December 1914 he was again reprimanded for being absent, this time for only 19 hours for which he forfeited one days pay.
James left England on 26 September 1915, crossing from Southampton to Boulogne in France via Havre. From there the battalion proceeded to Ploegsteert in Belgium. By 27 August 1916, the battalion was in an area south of Thiepval known as the Leipsic Salient.
The Battalion War Diary for 29 August 1916 reports: HQ dug out of C Coy hit by a shell. 5 killed and 8 wounded. Private James Moore was one of the men killed on that day. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 16 September 1916:
PRIVATE J MOORE KILLED
Mrs Moores (sic) of Waterside has unofficially heard that her husband, Private James Moore, was killed in action in France early in September. The news has been received from a friend of the deceased, who says that Moore was killed in a dug-out after successfully passing through an attacking movement. Private Moore enlisted in the 8th South Lancashire Regiment in September 1914 and embarked for France twelve months later. He was formerly a fustian cutter in the employ of Mr E Hulme at his Waterside Works. He leaves a widow and four children.
His death was also reported in the Macclesfield Times of 22 September 1916:
KILLED IN HIS DUG-OUT – WIFE AND FIVE CHILDREN BEREAVED
Information has reached Mrs Moores (sic), 9 Lower Bank St, Macclesfield, to the effect that her husband, Private James Moores, has been killed in action. The sad news was conveyed in a letter from a comrade, who stated that Private Moores was killed by a shell which dropped onto the dug-out.
Private Moores was 31 years of age and was in the South Lancashire Regt. He had been at the front twelve months and enlisted two years ago. He leaves a widow and five children. Private Moores’ brother is serving in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and a brother-in-law is a gunner in the Navy.
Private James Moore has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. Pier and Face 7 A and 7 B of the Thiepval Memorial in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private James Moore.
Brother of George Moore, who served as Corporal 10645 in the Shropshire Light Infantry and then as Private 466099 in 423 Agricultural Company; brother-in-law of Patrick Kelsall who served as Private 290899 in the 7th Cheshire Regiment and was wounded in his right thigh in France on 29 July 1918; both survived the war.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
The Workhouse Glossary
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium, Germany), 1914-1920: 8th South Lancashire Regt
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Courier: 16 September 1916
Macclesfield Times: 22 September 1916
The Cheshire Yearbook and Calendar: 1917