James Hilton MOORES
Rank: Gunner
Number: 240851
Unit: D Battery, 177th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 21 March 1918
Age: 29
Cemetery: Ste. Emilie Valley Cemetery, Villers-Faucon, France

James was the son of George and Margaret Moores of “Hill Crest”, Compstall. He was born in Hayfield and is thought to have still been living at home when he joined the army. He may have been working away as he enlisted in Bakewell, rather than locally. His service number confirms that this was not early in the War.

On 21 March 1918, the long awaited German spring offensive was finally delivered. The British knew it was coming and had prepared as best it could – but it couldn’t be known exactly where it would fall, nor could the ferocity of the attack have been predicted. The main weight of the assault fell on the British lines between Arras, in the north, and St Quentin in the south. Around dawn, very heavy German artillery fire opened up on all areas of the front line and the immediate reserve areas. This bombardment went on for several hours and then, through the mist, came wave after wave of German infantry. In 177th Brigade’s sector, the front line was quickly overrun and, by 9.30, the Germans were attacking the main “battle zone” near the village of Ronssoy (some 15 kilometres north of St. Quentin). The infantry came on so quickly that there was no time for the artillerymen to fasten up the gun carriages to the horses and all the guns were captured by the Germans. Only a handful of men, at Brigade HQ to the rear, managed to get away. The rest were killed or taken prisoner.

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