Posted 19 December 2004 - 09:24 pm
Two Holmfirth brothers were killed in 1915, one at Gallipoli and one in France, I have photographs taken from microfilm of the Holmfirth Express if required.
John Moreland, a Private (12/1721), Auckland Battalion, New Zealand Brigade, New Zealand and Australian Division. The son of Mr Thomas and Eleanor Moreland of Holt, Holmfirth. A twenty-seven year old, he was killed in action on Sunday 8th August 1915. While living in Holmfirth he had worked as a dyer at Kirkbridge Dye Works, New Mill, and served as a Lance Corporal in the Holmfirth territorials.
In November 1912 he emigrated to New Zealand and worked on a farm at Willoughby Kaipaki, North Cambridge, until the war began, his brother Ernest left for South Africa in the same year. Enlisting in the infantry on the outbreak of hostilities, he transferred to the artillery after hearing a rumour that they would be the first to go to the Front. After a few months at the artillery base, he decided he was mistaken and transferred back to the infantry.
In August his father received a telegram from the New Zealand Army Records Officer saying:
“Much regret to inform you your son Driver John Moreland is reported missing after action in Gallipoli on the 8th inst.”
Although the telegram describes him as a driver, his family believed this to be a mistake, and that he was in fact, still with the infantry. It was to be October before they received the news that he had been killed on that date, the family were hoping he had been taken as a prisoner of war. The news of his death reached Holmfirth in the same week that his brother Ernest was reported to have died of wounds in France. There is no known grave.
In a letter to his father from Trantham Camp, New Zealand, early in 1915, he wrote:
“I got an Express last week, and I felt quite proud when I read all the names of the fellows who have enlisted under the Old Flag, but you can tell the editor that his list is not quite complete yet. Wouldn’t I just like to be in the old F Company, and if I get the chance to join them I will, too. They are to slow here.
“It is rumoured we shall leave here by the middle of February. We have been in camp six weeks now. Were you surprised to hear that I had enlisted? Our Company had a photograph taken last week, so I am enclosing an enlarged one, but I don’t suppose you will be able to pick me out. I am glad to say I am in the pink of condition.”
In a letter received by his Father in August written in Gallipoli on July 30th he said he was hoping to help; “Give Jacko a surprise that will just about finish him.” He thought that the war there would only last another month or two and hoped to be home for Christmas dinner, after adding; “Should however, I have the misfortune to be knocked out,” he left instructions for the disposal of some of his belongings. He also asked his sister to send him a cake, which she had already baked and made ready for posting when the telegram reporting him missing arrived.
There is no known grave consequently he is commemorated on Panel 11, Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial, Turkey.
Ernest Moreland of Market Street, Holmfirth, a Gunner (54776), with the 104th Battery, 22nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, (7th Division, I Corps, First Army.) died of wounds on Friday 22nd October 1915 at Abbeville, France. Born in Lancaster, the son of Thomas and Eleanor Moreland. When younger he had been a bell ringer at the parish church and worked as a cloth finisher for James Lancaster & Son, Mytholmbridge. Tall and slim, he was twenty-five years old. At eighteen he became a regular soldier, enlisting at Halifax and serving for seven years until his death. In July 1914 he was in Pretoria, South Africa, arriving in France during October 1914. His last home leave had been in August 1912, before leaving for South Africa.
On the 6th of October his family received a telegram reading; “Regret to inform you that Gunner E. Moreland is dangerously wounded, in second stationary hospital, Abberville. Regret that permission to visit him cannot be granted.” He had received gunshot wounds to the head and arm, and although his condition was serious, the staff at Abbeville Hospital thought that he was making satisfactory progress. A nurse wrote to his parents saying:
“Gunner Moreland is not so well. He was brought to this hospital on the 3rd, and the injury to his head necessitated an operation.” The family were informed of a relapse, and then that he had died. Another nurse wrote that; “Your son died last night. He was most anxious all day that I should write to you, and once I found him with pencil and paper in his hand trying to do so. Everything was done for him, and we had hopes for his recovery until three days ago”
In a letter to his father on 12th December 1914, from 7th Division Ammunition Column in France, he refers to the raid by the German Navy on the east coast towns of Scarborough, Whitby and West Hartlepool. He wrote:
“Very many thanks for the cigarettes you so kindly sent me. I was very pleased to hear that you are all in good health at home, and glad to say that I am myself at present. I sincerely hope that you had a better Christmas than I had, but, of course, we had to put up with it. The weather is very wet and cold here at present. No doubt when the summer comes it will be a bit more comfortable, and let us hope that we shan’t be here next Christmas. I heard of the Germans giving you a call by way of the East Coast, so that is another addition to their inhuman actions, which will all by squared off before the end. We are slowly but surely driving them out of France and Belgium, and when we get the New Army out here I dare say things will move a little quicker.”
News of his death reached Holmfirth during the same week that his brother John was confirmed to have been killed in action at Gallipoli. Ernest Moreland was buried in Grave 6 on Row C of Plot 3 at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. Locally he is commemorated on the Holmfirth and New Mill War Memorial: Holmfirth section.
I would be grateful for any further imformation if you have anything I don't.