Private Gilbert Moore

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Private. 2/4th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). Service Number: 300134

A black and white newspaper photo of a man's head and shoulders.

Private Gilbert Moore

Early life:

Gilbert was born in Keighley in 1898 and his birth was registered here in the first quarter of the year. His parents were Alfred Moore and Louisa Moore née Goodier who had been married on 10th November 1888 at St. John's Church, Ingrow.
In the 1901 census Gilbert was aged three and living with his parents at 99, Keighley Road, Cross Roads. (this house no longer exists) William was 39 and a woollen weaver, more than likely at the Cross Roads Mill which was just over the road. Louise was caring for the children and their family home. The children were Edith aged eleven, Clara aged five, Gilbert aged three and the baby of the family was Annie, aged just ten months.

By the time of the 1911 census, the family had moved closer to Haworth and were living at 22, Jay Street on Haworth Brow. William aged 46 was still cloth weaving and Louisa aged 45 a housewife, had now been married for 24 years and they'd produced nine children, one of whom had died. The childrens living at home in this census were Edith a wool drawer aged 20, Gilbert a machine doffer aged 14, Clara aged 15, Annie aged 11 at school, Frank aged nine at school, John aged six at school, Millicent aged four at school and Wilfred aged two.

A death record has been found for William stating he died aged 52 in 1916, registered in Keighley in the first quarter of the year.

War service:

We think that Gilbert enlisted in Keighley in February of 1916, which is mentioned in the local newspaper obituary and the estimate from the Soldier's Effects records confirms this too. He was working at the time for Prince Smith & Son in Keighley.
The newspaper also tells us that Gilbert had been wounded and gassed twice and was also sent home with heart problems but returned to the front lines in January 1918. We also see from his medal roll entry, that during his service he was with the 1/7th West Riding, the 1/6th West Riding and finally the 2/4th West Riding. It's possible that these transfers occurred after being wounded and was transferred to another battalion after he recovered and returned to the front lines in each case.
He was serving with the 2/4th West Riding Regiment near Rhiems in France, which is about 70 miles to the East of Paris. Their war diary gives a very detailed narrative account of the attack he took part in, which killed him.

War diary WO-95/3086/1/2 2/4th Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment. July 1918:

HENU. July 14th:
The battalion received orders to move South, and entrained at MONDICOURT at 9 pm.
July 16th:
The battalion detrained at MAILLY and proceeded by bus to CHALONS, and from there by route march to RECY.
17th July:
The battalion moved by route march to CHERVILLE.
18th July:
The battalion moved by route march to GERMAINE, and bivouaced in the forest at RHEIMS.
20th:
The Battalion went into action in the vicinity of MARFAUX, and the wagon lines were moved into the forest de Rheims near COURTAGNON. (For narrative of operations see the appendix below this)
30th July:
The Battalion came out of the line, and moved to the wagon lines near COURTAGNON.

Narrative of operations:

At midnight JULY 19/20 1918 the battalion marched from GERMAINE to an assembly point in the FORET de LA MONTAGNE DE REIMS about 500 metres South of COURTAGNON.
At 8 a.m. July 20th the battalion moved off from this position to the attack.
The left boundary of the battalion rested on the North bank of the river ARDRE and the battalion frontage extended to about 700 yards in a North-Easterly direction.
The 2/4th Hants were on the right of the battalion and on the South side of the river ARDRE the 51st Division continued the line. The line of the general advance was North-Westerly in the direction of POURCY-MARFAUX-CHAUMUZY-BLIGNY.

The 185 and 187 Infantry Brigades had objectives allotted on this front and the intention was that the 186 Infantry Brigade would leap-frog through them and proceed to a further objective.
The 2/4th Duke of Wellington's Regt. moved in column of route and when clear of the Ferme de Courtagnon broke into company artillery formation. Two companies in the front line and two companies in support.
The artillery barrage which was to support the advance of the 185 and 187 Brigades did not appear to have started or if so it was not perceptible. As the battalion approached POURCY it came under severe machine gun fire from the BOIS DE COUTRON and it necessitated shaking out into an extended line.
At this time the attack by the 51st Division did not appear to have started and the left flank of the battalion was exposed. Owing to the nature of the country the 2/4th Hants, had to follow for some distance in rear of the 2/4th Duke of wellington's and they were not yet up on the right flank.
For a little while the Battalion seemed in rather an exposed position and its flanks were likely to be turned if the enemy made any counter-attack.
It was about this time 10 a.m. that the enemy artillery began to to open fire, but at first it was very slight and with no special direction. The casualties were beginning to become heavy but the advance continued in two waves.

After passing through POURCY the machine gun and artillery fire became more intense but the line continued to advance. When within about 600 yards of MARFAUX the battalion came into touch with the 185 Inf.Brigade which was held up and unable to advance.
At this point the two waves merged into one and mixed with the units of the 185 Brigade tried to press forward. The companies on the left by the river ARDRE never came into touch with the 185 Inf.Brigade.
The advance proceeded slowly, and being held up by several strong points and a farm Min.d'ARDRE.
The platoons on the left stormed and took the farm and another platoon took a strong point slightly North of the farm killing the occupants and securing two machine guns. On the right close to the road a platoon of another company attacked a post, took 14 prisoners and two machine guns.
By this time the right flank had rather extended beyond their boundary and were working in conjunction with the 185 Inf.Brigade., through the southern edge of the BOIS DE POURCY, meeting much machine gun fire.
Nearly 50% of the battalion by this time had become casualties but with splendid spirit they gradually worked their way forward.
On the left isolated units pressed forward to within 70 yards of MARFAUX and one platoon on the Northern edge of MARFAUX actually entering the village, but the village was held in strength and they had to retire by twos and threes.
At about 3 p.m. the advance was completely held up, and the battalion was very much disorganised, small units being well up to MARFAUX but the general line was about 300 yards on the Eastern side of MARFAUX. At nightfall the line was reorganised. On the right it was situated in the old French line and on the left some distance in front of this line and about 400 yards from MARFAUX.

At some point during these attacks, Gilbert was killed in action.

Keighley News 31st August 1918, page 3:

Mrs Moore, of 7, Elm Grove, Ingrow, has received a letter from an officer in the West Riding Regiment, informing her of the death, in action, of her son, Private Gilbert Moore. He says: "Your son was killed by a machine gun bullet during an attack on July 20, in which his battalion was taking part. Your son met his death like a brave soldier. I sympathise most deeply with you in your great loss." Private Moore had been in the Army about two and a half years, and had been wounded and gassed on two occasions. He had also been invalided home suffering from heart trouble. He had been back in France seven months after returning from hospital in England. In civil life he was employed by Messrs. Prince Smith & Son, Burlington Shed.

Gilbert was buried in a battlefield grave at the time. Later, along with several others his grave was exhumed. the grave was identified by his name on the cross and his remains were moved between 26th and 27th September 1919 and reburied in Marfaux British Cemetery. He lies in grave 9 of row E, in plot III.

Post was and Remembrance:

The Soldier's Effects record shows that Gilbert's mother Louise was his next of kin and she received his remaining Army pay of £5 7s. 2d on 4th March 1919 and a war gratuity of £11, on 29th November 1919.
She also received a dependent's pension of 9 shillings per week for life, beginning on 11th February 1919. ASt the time she was living at 7, Elm Grove, Ingrow in Keighley. This house still exists today.
It's likely that Louise also received Gilbert's personal effects and his medals which were the British War Medal and Victory Medal plus a bronze Great War memorial plaque and King's certificate inscribed with his name.

Gilbert does not appear to be named on any war memorial in Keighley although he may be the Gilbert Moore named on one of the Haworth memorials.

In the 1921 census Louise was still living at 7, Elm Grove at Ingrow and seems to have been living there for a good number of years after the war. She was aged 54 and was head of the household. Living with her were Clara aged 25 and working as a worsted spinner for Robert Clough at Grove Mills; Annie was aged 21 and a worsted weaver for J. E. Haggas at Ingrow Mills; Frank was aged 18 and a taker off in worsted spinning for Robert Clough; John was aged 16 and an out of work jobber lad in the spinning department, he had worked for Robert Clough until October 1920; Millicent was aged 14 and a part time doffer in worsted spinning for R. E. Haggas at Igrow Mills. The last child was Wilfred aged 12, who was at school.

We could not find a death record for Louisa.

Information sources:

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
National Archives
86/1/2 2/4th Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
1921 Census Of England & Wales

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