The Moss family originated from Ashton under Lyne where, in 1901, they were living at 30 Chester Square. 55 year old William Moss was a hay and straw dealer and was married to Eliza. They had six children - Willie (then 15), Evelyn (13), Ernest (11), Bertram (8), Adelaide (7) and Constance (5).
It's not known when they moved to North Reddish but their address there, after the War, was 532 Gorton Road. The family history website, CheshireBMD, records the death in 1911 of a William Moss, of the right age to be Ernest's father. Although this may not be him, he is certainly known to have died by the early 1920s.
Little is known about Ernest's early life, except that he worked in Manchester as a clerk for a firm called Sutton & Co. At the beginning of September 1914, he went to a recruiting office in the city centre and joined up. He enlisted into the 3rd of the "Pals Battalions" being raised by the Manchester Regiment. The entire Battalion was recruited in just two days - the 5th and 7th of the month. He was assigned to No. 9 Platoon, "C" Company. Some details of the Battalion's recruitment and training can be found here.
In November 1915, Ernest and his comrades left Britain to go on active service to France. By the middle of January, they had received training in trench warfare "on the job" and were ready to take over a sector on their own. On the 10th, they moved into positions near the village of Vaux, in the south of what would become the Somme battlefield later in the year. The next day, the first fatality occurred when Private Brown was shot through the head by a sniper. The tour of duty was over a couple of days later and the Battalion pulled back into reserve.
They were back in the line by the 28th when the Battalion's War Diary records there was a heavy bombardment of the positions by the German artillery. The shelling continued next day and it's recorded that one man was killed and seven wounded. Ernest was one of the wounded and had been injured in the head by shrapnel. One of his comrades carried him from the trench to the Regimental Aid Post just behind the front line. He will have received some first aid from the Battalion's own medical officer before being loaded onto an ambulance for transport to the Main Dressing Station. Unfortunately, he died in the ambulance.
His unnamed comrade later wrote to the family "We who are left all miss Ernest very much. He was a good soldier, always the first to give a helping hand to a comrade, so steady and cool - a fine example to all."