Private Tom MOSLEY


Regiment/Service:
Middlesex Regiment
(Duke of Cambridge's Own)
Unit:
20th Battalion
(Formerly: 2/8th and 3rd Battalions)
Service Number:
TF/242766
(Formerly: G/6023 2/8th and 3rd Battns.)
Date of Death:
16 April 1918 - Killed in Action
Age:
24
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
III. G. 42.


Personal History:

According to his Attestation Papers, Tom was born on the 3rd September 1893, the son of William (Farm Labourer) and Eliza Mosley of Garden Farm, Fairfield, Buxton. He had two older brothers and an older sister, Frank, Harry and Nellie, and a younger sister, Annie (1901 Census RG 13/3269).
By 1911 (Census RG 14/21234) the family had moved to 2 Bench Road, Fairfield. Father William was then employed as a "Bath Chairman" and Tom as a "Servant". When Tom enlisted in he gave his occupation as "Engine Cleaner" with the London and North-west Railway. At that time he was 5 ft. 6 ins. (1.69 m.) tall and weighed 7 st. 8 lbs. (48.1 kgs.). (After 15 months he had increased to 5 ft. 9 ins. [1.75 m.] tall.) He had a 'dark' complexion, grey eyes and dark-brown hair and was ".. slim, but well developed". By 1918 the family had moved to 97 Fairfield Road, Buxton.

In reporting his death in June 1918, 'The Buxton Advertiser' reported that Tom was: "A very smart young fellow with a cheery word for everyone and popular wherever he went, his untimely loss in this terrible War will be deeply lamented".

Military History:
Tom enlisted in Buxton originally into the 2/8th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, on the 14th November 1914. His first posting was to the 6th Battalion on the 18th November. [Another Buxton casualty, L/Cpl Percival INNES, has an adjacent number to Tom (i.e. 6024) so presumably enlisted at the same time.]

Tom was posted to France on the 11th March 1915, with the 3rd Battalion. However, his Records show that on the 13th May 1915 he was admitted to No 35 General Hospital (Rawalpindi British General Hospital), Calais, from where he was moved back to England. He joined the 5th (Reserve) Battalion on the 4th November 1915, the on to the 23rd Battalion on the 29th November. Tom was posted back to France on the 29th December 1915.

'The Buxton Advertiser' (1st June 1918) reported that Tom ".. had been severely wounded on one occasion and was home on leave about a year ago before joining his Regiment (20th Battalion Middlesex)." These wounds were received on the 15th September 1916 and further described as "Gun shot wounds .... right arm, right hip and right shoulder causing paralysis right arm and dropped wrist."  He was admitted to East Leeds War Hospital on the 30th September before being admitted to the Auxillary Military Hospital, Saltburn, between the 4th October and the 15th November 1916, suffering from "Shrapnel Wounds Arm and Thigh".

The 15th September 1916 was the first day of The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, (15 - 22 September), one of the phases of the Battles of the Somme, where the 23rd Battalion fought, as part of the 41st Division.

Following his return to England, Tom was later examined at Canterbury and found to be: "Unable to handle rifle." and classified "Category 'C'". Tom moved back to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion on the 24th November 1916.

Tom changed Battalions again, to the 3/8th, on the 24th January 1917. On the 23rd February 1917 Tom was transferred to the Territorial Force, Class W(T) designed for all those soldiers whose services are deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment. It was at this time that his Service Number changed to 242766.

For this Service, and until the 28th March, he was briefly with the Notts and Derbys Regiment, returning to the 23rd Middlesex on the 29th March.  In June 1917, following a Medical Board, Tom was found to be Class 'A' and transferred again on the 6th June, and on the 23rd June 1917 was "... recalled to the Colours and ordered to report on the 11th July".

On the 11th July 1917 Tom moved to the Ex-Army Reserve at Tunbridge Wells, before being posted to the 1/7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, and sailing from Folkestone for Boulogne on the 1st/2nd September 1917. He was posted yet again, this time to the 16th Battalion, on the 9th September, and joined them in the field on the 12th.

Tom's final posting was to the 20th Battalion on the 11th February 1918, just two months before being killed in action. He had two weeks leave from the 18th March, rejoining his Battalion on the 13th April. Nine days later, on the 22nd, Tom was reported missing, and on the 17th May 1918 was deemed to have been "Killed in Action" on the 16th April.

The 20th Middlesex were heavily engaged countering the great German offensive and were sent to the area of the River Lys in April 1918 to recuperate. They were subsequently hit by the next stage of the German Offensive in April 1918 in that area. Tom's Battalion was in action in the Battle of Bailleul (13th - 15th April), a phase in the Battle of Lys (9th - 29th April 1918), but could not prevent the Germans taking the town

'The Buxton Advertiser' also reported that he "After being reported missing for some weeks past further information states the gallant young soldier has made the supreme sacrifice of his life. It is feared that the news must be only too true, and will be much regretted by a large circle of relatives and friends in the town."

It is perhaps strange, therefore, that having been reported missing for some time, he was eventually found and now lies in Bailleul Cemetery. There can seldom be a soldier with such a varied Service with so many Battalions. Even have suffering severe wounds, he was recalled and went back into the front line. In all he served for 3 years 154 days.

In the 10 days in the middle of April the 20th Battalion lost 35 men. Only Tom and 4 others have a known grave, the others, most of whom died on the 12th, are now commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 1 June 1918

Link to CWGC Record
Pt Tom Mosley's grave
poppy
Pt Tom Mosley