Moss, Charles (MC)

Charles Moss (MC), Captain, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 6th November 1917 at Khuweilfeh, Palestine, aged 32

 

EARLY LIFE

Charles Moss was born on 10 March 1885 at Eccles, Lancashire, the only son of Mr Charles Moss, merchant, of 21 Bread St, Cheapside, London.

 

WW1 SERVICE

The death of Captain Charles Moss was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 23 November 1917:

CAPTAIN C MOSS, M.C. – GALLANT OFFICER FALLS IN PALESTINE

By the death in action in Palestine of Captain Charles Moss, M.C., Cheshire Regiment, Macclesfield has lost one of its most promising businessmen and well-beloved citizens.The sad news which was received with profound regret was conveyed to his uncle, Mr Walter Brown, J.P., C.C., by telegram during the weekend: … “Deeply regret to inform you Captain Charles Moss, M.C., 7th Cheshires, was killed in action Nov 6th. The Army Council express their sympathy.”

Captain Moss was killed at Khuweilfeh, which is about eleven miles from Beersheba. The official dispatches relating to the engagement state: “The Welsh Division (of which the Cheshire Regiment forms part) made a gallant advance against Khuweilfeh, a high hill eleven miles north-west of Beersheba, which during the last few days had been entrenched. They carried the first system of trenches soon after daylight, while the enemy were engaging them to desperate attacks.”

Captain Moss was born at Eccles, Lancashire, on March 10th, 1884*, and was the only son of Mr Charles Moss, merchant, Bread Street, London and the late Mrs Moss, sister of Mr Walter Brown, J.P., C.C., of Upton Lodge, Macclesfield. Mr Moss was in business in Macclesfield many years ago, being a partner in the firm of Messrs Huckell and Pattison, drapers, Mill Street. Mr Pattinson is the father of the magistrates’ clerk (Mr A T Pattinson). Captain Moss was educated at the Manchester** Grammar School, The University College, Southport, and at Neunheim, Heidelberg, Germany. Whilst at the last-named place he had an opportunity of studying German life and was impressed by the intense hatred of the German race towards England. In later life he frequently expressed the opinion that…. there would be trouble between the two countries. He began his business career at Leicester, and later was employed in London, where he joined the Yeomanry.

In 1909 he accepted an offer of service with Messrs Haddon and Sly, of Johannesburg, a large importing firm. After a while he transferred his services to Messrs Jagger and Co., also of Johannesburg, for whom he travelled extensively, covering Central and East Africa, and visiting places that probably no white man had ever penetrated before. Consequently he was enabled to make a close study of native life, and during his travels he acquired a unique collection of photographs, which, on returning to England, were used as the subjects of lantern slides. Macclesfield people will remember with pleasure the able lectures delivered in the town by Captain Moss on his travels. While in Rhodesia Captain Moss became a Freemason. In 1912 his health began to fail and he had a severe attack of malaria. Acting upon medical advice he returned to England the same year and joined at Macclesfield the firm of Messrs J Dunkerley and Son, of which his uncle, Mr Walter Brown, is governing director. Captain Moss studied the technicalities of the business at the Technical School and School of Art, and went through a course of training at the mills in Oxford Road, thereby making himself thoroughly conversant with the intricate details. He was afterwards placed on the Board of Directors.

Although Captain Moss was only in Macclesfield about 18 months before joining up for service, he took a big interest int he affairs of the town, particularly in connection with the Boy Scouts. His whole heart was in this movement, and as a Scoutmaster he gave valuable assistance to the Commissioner (Mr H W Whiston, J.P.) in bringing the movement to the state of efficiency it has attained. Captain Moss was also gifted as a vocalist and pianist, and his services were always readily given for the benefit of any good cause. He was also interested in politics and when the question of Home Rule for Ireland was so much before the public he accompanied the late Lieut. J C Close-Brooks (then chairman of the Conservative party in Macclesfield) on a visit to the south and west portions of Ireland so as to obtain first-hand knowledge of the conditions and the feeling of the people in connection with that problem.

Captain Moss was one of the first to answer the call of duty, enlisting immediately on the outbreak of war as a private in the Duke of Lancaster’s Yeomanry, of which Lord Derby was Honorary Colonel. Shortly afterwards he was gazetted to commissioned rank in the local Territorials. After training at Oswestry, Baldock and Bedford, he went out with the battalion to the Dardanelles in July, 1915, and took part in the memorable landing at Suvla Bay on Aug 8th. He was severely wounded during the first advance, receiving a bullet through the right thigh, and was invalided home. Upon recovery he rejoined his battalion in Egypt and was again in action at the first battle of Gaza, where he was for a second time wounded on March 26th last. For conspicuous gallantry in this engagement Captain Moss was awarded the Military Cross. In his modesty, the Captain never spoke much about the act for which he gained the distinction, but remarked that any of the fellows would have done equally as well if they had had the opportunity.

The following was the official description in the London Gazette of the deed for which Captain Moss was awarded the M.C.: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his company with exceptional gallantry to its objective, which he reached in an hour, although continuously under fire, over a distance of 5,000 yards. He continued to lead his company against the enemy’s support trenches, inflicting many casualties and materially assisting the success of the operation by his personal example and disregard of danger.”

As an officer Captain Moss showed the true British spirit, and was held in the highest esteem by all who served under him. He was a born leader, and Macclesfield is the poorer by his death.

The last letter written by Captain Moss to his uncle was dated 22nd October, in which he described an air-duel between British and German aviators. The German plane, he said, was brought down, and Captain Moss enclosed a piece of the framework of the German machine. His last message to his uncle was: “I expect you will hear great news by the time this reaches you.”

It is the intention of Mr Walter Brown to visit the grave of Captain Moss after the war and to have a suitable memorial erected. At some future date it is contemplated to provide a memorial in the town or district; the form, however, is not yet decided upon. Mr Walter Brown and the members of his family are greatly indebted to kind friends for letters of sympathy in their bereavement.

A memorial service will shortly be held at Bosley Church, where Captain Moss worshipped.

* Charles Moss was born in 1885.
**Charles Moss actually attended the Modern School in Macclesfield.

 

Window dedicated to Charles Moss, St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield (Geoff Archer)

COMMEMORATION

Captain Charles Moss is buried in Grave Ref. E. 2. of the Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel. His father asked for the following inscription to be added to his headstone:

ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO HIM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Captain Charles Moss, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

Locally, Captain Charles Moss is commemorated on the Macclesfield Park GreenTown Hall, St Michael’s Church, Park Green Club, Macclesfield Cricket Club,  Macclesfield Grammar School and Old Boys Club war memorials, and the Old Boys Club roll of honour. He is also commemorated on the Bosley war memorial.

In addition, St Michael’s Church has a stained glass window dedicated to Captain Moss.

 

NOTES

 

 

SOURCES

Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times:
23 November 1917

 


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