MOSS, Cecil J.

No. 16614, Lance Corporal, Cecil John MOSS
Aged 22

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916

Cecil John Moss was born in Chippenham on 22nd December 1893 (Newmarket Q1-1894 3B:533 ) baptised in Chippenham on 8th April 1894. The son of Alfred and Hannah MOSS (née COCKSEDGE).

1901 census...Aged 7, he was at 12 New Row,Chippenham with his father Alfred MOSS [49] agricultural labourer; his mother Hannah [45]; brother Edward [19] rural postman, brother Alfred [16] agricultural labourer, brother Fred [14] garden labourer, sister Ida [12] brother Sidney [9] and sister Lillian [5]. All the family were born in Chippenham.

1911 census...Aged 17, a farm labourer, he was still at 12 New Row, Chippenham with his parents, brothers Fred (gardener) and Sidney (farm labourer). One of the ten children had died. His elder brother Fred was killed in France in 1917, see here.

He enlisted in Newmarket.

He was killed on the first day of the Somme, together with almost 20,000 other British soldiers, the worst day in British military history.
Lt Col Murphy's book " The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927" tells us that the 34 Division, 101st Brigade was as yet untried. At 5 am the 11th Suffolks moved off from Becourt wood towards its jumping off place. At 7.28 a mine of 80,000 lbs of ammonal (Lochnagar) was fired to the left of 101st Brigade and two minutes later the assault began. The 11th Suffolks followed the 10th Lincolns at the left rear of the Brigade. It quickly became apparent that the enemy in La Boiselle were in great strength, resisting the allied advance and maintaining tremendous machine gun fire on the Brigade from the very moment of leaving the trenches. Men were dropping likes flies, spinning around in the hail of bullets. The lines of men soon became bands of three or four. By eight o'clock the battle was effectively over for the battalion. The dead and wounded lay out there during the day, thinning out as the German positions were reached. A few had reached the enemy lines but were stopped there.

Cecil was found close to the track leading to Lochnagar Crater in 1925, and identified by his disc and re-interred at Cerisy.

Of the 691 casualties recorded for the 11th Suffolk that day, 199 were killed. 46 have identified graves, but 153 are named on the Thiepval Memorial. Also killed with him was Walter Good see here.

The Bury Free Press of 12th August 1915 reported:-

the list of killed on July 21st,in the Great Advance. These young men,who joined the Suffolks in November 1914, bore exemplary characters. Prvt Good was the only son of Mr.James Good, head gamekeeper in the Chippenham Estate.L-Corpl Cecil Moss was the youngest son of Mr. Alfred Moss of New Row, Chippenham. L-Corpl Moss's brother Sydney was also wounded at the same time and is in hospital.He has two older brothers serving in France. A memorial service was conducted at Chippenham Church on Sunday evening by the Vicar, and was attended by a large congregation. The deaths bring the total up to five out of this small village. Amongst the other soldiers who have been wounded are L-Corpl Raymond Woods, who has recovered so far as to rejoin at the Regimental Depot at Bury St.Edmunds, Prvts Ernest Fuller, Fred Farrington and George Smalley. Prvt W.Adams was wounded in the hand by a splinter of a shell, and is at home for a short time. Three other Chippenham men have received such injuries on active service as to necessitate their being discharged, namely Prvt Fred Drake*, James Adams and Herbert Cole

* Fred Drake was to contract TB and die later after discharge, but was not initially on CWGC record. This was rectified in 1915, it remains (2018) to erect a headstone in Chippenham graveyard.

Cecil was eventually found here and re-interred in Cerisy-Gailly French National Cemetery

photoby Guy -

Cecil Moss buried in Cerisy-Gailly French National Cemetery, grave 2:F:13

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details