Corporal Alfred Moore

A white circle with a glove crossing it's fingers and the words: Made Possible with Heritage Fund.This man is a candidate for addition to Keighley's Supplementary Volume under the proposal to add further names in 2024, the centenary of the original roll of honour.
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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.

Acting Corporal. 10th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Service no. 37561.

Previously no. 11/186642 and no. 6074 of the 1/5th Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment.

Early life:

Alfred was born on 2nd August 1895, his parents were Thomas Moore and Martha Ellen Moore née Wheater. His birth was registered at Keighley in the third quarter of the year. He was baptised at St. Barnabas Church, Thwaites Brow on 2nd February 1896 and at the time the family were living at 42, Pitt Street in the Parkwood area of Keighley and his father Thomas was a labourer.
By the 1901 census Alfred was living at 9, Victoria Terrace with his parents Thomas aged 45 and a metal refiner; Martha was aged 49 and looking after the family home plus their seven children and one grandchild. These were Joseph, aged 23 and a brass moulder; Lily aged 19 and Violet aged 16 who were both worsted spinners; Albert aged 12 was a doffer in a worsted mill, Arthur was nine, Alfred was five, both probably at school. They also had Clara, their daughter in law (married to Joseph) who was 23 and a worsted twister and her and Joseph's son Arthur, aged just five months.
Also boarding with them was Alice Coulton who was 18 and a worsted spinner. She would have had her own room to herself so that would be even more of a squeeze for the family, but the extra money for the household would have been very welcome.

By the 1911 census the whole family had moved from number 42, next door to 40, Pitt Street, which was slightly larger. (These houses are now long demolished.) Thomas was aged 56 and a scavenger for the Borough Council/Corporation, Martha Ellen was 49 and a housewife. They had been married for 39 years and produced ten children, two of whom had since died. Arthur was aged 19 and a foundry labourer; Alfred was aged 15 and a stitcher in finishing at a cotton dyeworks. They also had John Gibson, son in law aged 23 and their daughter Violet Gibson, who had been married to John for a year and they were both fish and chip fryers. Also in the house was a boarder called Arthur Melling, he was aged 30 and a machine fitter in cotton, wool and worsted spinning.

War service:

He enlisted at Keighley, we think in late 1915, and served with the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment with service number 11/186642 and if this was the 11th Battalion then he would have been training at Brocton Camp in Staffordshire. He was then with the 1/5th West Riding, service no. 6074, then he must have been transferred to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry after he went to France as the West Riding Regiment is also mentioned on his medal records. All we know about his service after this point is that he was killed in action on 9th April 1917, whilst serving with the 10th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was 21 years old and was buried in grave 54 of row C at Cojeul British Cemetery at St. Martin-Sur-Cojeul in France.

War diary:

Refer to this map on: The National Library of Scotland website.
WO-95/2162/2 10th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. April 1917:
On the night of the 8th April the 9th K.O.Y.L.I., the 15th D.L.I. and 1st East Yorks took up their positions in the jumping off trenches which had been dug. The 9th were on the left, the 15th in the centre and the 1st. East Yorks on the right.
The 10th K.O.Y.L.I. remained in their old positions in the Sunken Road T.3.a.1.4. to T.9.b.5.5. Battalion Headquarters moved from S.18.b.7.7. to T.14.d.7.7.
46 men of C Company were attached as a carrying party to 64th Machine Gun Company.

A trench map from the National Library of Scotland showing the German Hindenburg line in April 1917.

Trench Map showing the Hindenburg Line and where the British trenches and positions were.

April 9th:
The Brigade attacked the Hindenburg Line in the afternoon.
2nd Lieutenant Arndall & 30 men of A Company were attached to the 1st East Yorks as a carrying party.
2nd Lieutenant Sharp & 30 men of D Company were attached to 15th D.L.I. & 2nd Lieutenant Wray & 30 men of B Company to 9th K.O.Y.L.I. Battalion was in Brigade Reserve.
7.30 pm:
At about 7.30 pm A & C Companies under Captain Marsh were sent up to reinforce the 1st East Yorks & 15th D.L.I. who had succeeded in penetrating the Hindenburg Line and were holding about 100 yards from T.5.a.3.4. to N.3.d.5.5. A difficult operation which was carried out successfully in the dark.
B & D Companies under Captain Holstock were sent up to occupy the Sunken Road just outside the German wire.
11.30 pm:
About 11.30 pm Lt. Colonel Postlethwaite was ordered to establish his headquarters in the Sunken Road occupied by B & D Companies. He was instructed & reported on the situation. After making a tour of the piece of the Hindenburg Line held by the Brigade & discussing the situation with the officers of each Battalion he reported that the Brigade could hold the line until the following night.
In the meantime the 126th Field Company Royal Engineers under the personal supervision of Major Shakespeare R.E. together with the 14th Northumberland Fusiliers Pioneers dug a new trench just in rear of the Sunken Road occupied by B & D Companies. The Brigade instructed Colonel Postlethwaite to establish his headquarters in this trench.

April 10th: 3.30 am:
B & D Companies took up their positions together with Battalion Headquarters in the new trench.
Together with 50 men of the 126th Field Company RE we dug a new communication trench to the German front line.
C Company of the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. relieved the bombing posts of the 15th Durham Light Infantry on the left and held the line from the communication trench to the left of the captured line.
8 am:
C Company repulsed a very determined bombing attack throwing over 300 bombs. Pte Waller of C Company distinguished himself on this occasion. Although wounded he stuck to his post and continued bombing until he died. He has been recommended for a Victoria Cross.
During the day ration, water & a very large supply of bombs were brought up by parties from each company. The party under 2nd Lieutenant Wray did exceptionally well in this respect.
Hot tea and rum was issued to the men.

A pencil sketch of some battlefield positions on a piece of paper.

Sketch at the bottom of the war diary page.

The dispositions of the battalions are shown in the sketch on the war diary page:

About 7 pm a very determined German counter attack drove them back to the sunken road. They were relieved by the 62nd Brigade the next morning.

A note about dates of death:

The 10th battalion casualties killed during this action were 30 men on the 9th April Alfred was one of these men. Three men were killed on the 10th. Of these three, Private Horace Waller was killed during the action when he won the Victoria Cross and is buried in grave 55 of row C, next to Alfred.
Additional Citation note:
An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30122, dated 8th June, 1917, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery when with a bombing section forming a block in the enemy line. A very violent counter-attack was made by the enemy on this post, and although five of the garrison were killed, Pte. Waller continued for more than an hour to throw bombs, and finally repulsed the attack. In the evening the enemy again counter-attacked the post and all the garrison became casualties, except Pte. Waller, who, although wounded later, continued to throw bombs for another half an hour until he was killed. Throughout these attacks he showed the utmost valour, and it was due to his determination that the attacks on this important post were repulsed."

Aftermath and post war:

Alfred's mother Martha Ellen was his next of kin and the sole legatee in his will. She received his outstanding Army pay which came to £2 9s 2d, paid to her on 18th August 1917.
The war gratuity amount in Alfred's Soldier's effects record, shows that Martha Ellen received £5 10s 0d paid on 19th November 1919. The amount works out at an approximate date of enlistment of December 1915.
Martha would also have received any of his personal effects and his medals which were the British War Medal and Victory Medal. These usually arrived in early 1920 and she would also have received a bronze war memorial plaque and King's scroll inscribed with Alfred's name.
There are two pension cards which indicate is that Martha applied for a pension, but neither give any details of any dependent's pension which might have been paid.

Corporal Alfred Moore is remembered at his grave, but as far as we can tell, he is not named on any war memorial in the Keighley District.

Keighley News 13th April 1918, page 3:

Moore - In loving memory of our dear brother, Corporal Arthur Moore, K.O.Y.L.I., killed in action April 9th, 1917.
"Not far behind the firing line,
Within the sound of the guns,
A wooden cross is the only sign,
'Neath the rays of the setting sun,
To denote the resting place of one
Who did his duty well,
Facing the danger as each day dawned,
And like a hero fell.
From Sisters and Brothers, Keighley and Huddersfield.

Moore - In loving memory of our dear son, Corporal Alfred Moore, K.O.Y.L.I., killed in action April 9th, 1917.
He left his home in perfect health,
He looked so young and brave,
We little thought how soon he would,
Be laid in a hero's grave.
No one knows the parting,
Or what the parting cost,
Buit God, in His great mercy,
Has gained what we have lost.

In the 1921 census Thomas and Martha Ellen were living at 22, Thorn Street which is in the Parkwood area. Thomas was 67 and still a scavenger for the Borough Council. Martha was a housewife. They had one other person living in the house, a boarder named Richard Skinner who was 55 and from Portland in Dorset, a stone dresser at Eastburn Quarry near Kildwick, owned by R. Dixon & Company. Two years later this company supplied the stone for Keighley's Great War Memorial.

Thomas Moore died in Keighley, but the two records for this name have the same birth year of 1855. He died either in 1926 aged 71 or in 1933, aged 78.

Martha was living alone at 22, Thorn Street in the 1939 register.

A Yorkshire Evening Post article dated Wednesday 3rd December, 1941:

Mrs. Martha Ellen Moore, of Thorn Street, Parkwood, Keighley who today celebrates her 90th birthday, has knitted in the last two years 68 pairs of socks and four pairs of mittens for the Forces. Mrs. Moore, a widow, does nearly all her own housework and shopping.

Martha died aged 91 in early 1943. Her death was registered in Keighley in the first quarter of the year.

On 29th January 2009 at 4 pm, a party of 42 year nine students and teachers from Holy Family School in Keighley were visiting Alfred's grave and spoke about him and held a ceremony to remember him. On the telephone at the same time was Barbara Barrett, a relative of Alfred, who they had telephoned to give them the opportunity to take part, despite the long distance.

Information sources:

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910 about Alfred Moore
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
1921 Census Of England & Wales
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
1939 England and Wales Register
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
National Archives
WO-95/2162/2 10th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. April 1917:
National Library of Scotland - Trench mapping service.

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