Tuesday, 29 April 2014

James William Moses

James William Moses was born in Windsor in 1893 (possibly in January). He was the son of Lucinia Daley and James Uriah Moses and a grandson of Uriah Moses, a convict who arrived in Australia in 1800, and Ann Daley, the daughter of convicts, Charles Daley and Susannah Alderson. He therefore belonged to one on the pioneering families of Windsor.

On 10 November 1915 James enlisted in the AIF at Windsor. The enlistment papers show that James was 22 years 10 months when he joined the army and that he was 5 feet 4 inches tall, had fair hair and blue eyes. He was a farmer. As next of kin he provided the name of his aunt, Florrie Graham, the sister of his mother, as both of his parents had died many years previously. James appears to have not been able to write his name as the official papers are signed with a x and the words his mark next to his name.

The papers in the file for James William Moses in Discovering Anzacs show that James was a member of the 15th Reinforcements of the 4th Battalion A I F stationed initially at Liverpool, New South Wales. He embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 26 August 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 12 October 1916.
Initially James spent time in the Overseas Training Brigade in England. His first trip to France was on 16 January 1917 aboard the Princess Clementine leaving England from Folkstone but on 22 April returned to England.  On 15 November 1917 he left Southampton  once again for France. The military papers for James in Mapping Our Anzacs largely deal with his medical history - he spent much time in and out of hospital and also record an issue at Cape Town on the voyage to England when he was late back aboard the ship and spent 24 hours in detention. One part of his military service is however recorded.

At Chuignes on 23rd Aug 1918, when his platoon was held up by machine gun fire, Pte Moses fired grenades into the enemy post, killing two. With others he charged the post, putting the remainder of the crew out of action and capturing the gun. His conduct was of the greatest assistance at a critical moment and allowed his platoon to advance. He was throughout conspicuous for bravery and absolute disregard for danger.
For the above action Private James William Moses was awarded the Military Medal. 

The gun that was captured was known as a Big Bertha and was reputed to be the largest German gun used on the Western Front.
Cartridge case belonging to the captured gun
The battle at Chuignes occurred towards the end of the war. A month later on 11 September James was once again in hospital, this time suffering he effects of gas. James eventually returned to Australia aboard the London in 1919. The following report appeared in the Windsor newspaper.

Another Windsor boy has brought the   Military Medal home — Private James Moses, son of the late Mrs. S. Hanchett. 'Jimmy' did four years on active service, and won the M.M. in the last big stunt just before the Armistice, in August last. He arrived in Windsor this week, and no one knew of   his coming. Hats off to the brave young   Windsor boy — Private Moses, M.M. He   looks well, and has filled out splendidly. He managed to dodge Fritz's iron rations, but was badly gassed.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette 11 July 1919

As well as the Military Medal James received the 1914/18 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In 1921 James married Emily Walker  but Emily died a few months later following surgery. In 1924 James married Ellen Pearson and their son, James, was probably born in 1925. Unfortunately James was killed in a motor car accident on 26 May 1926.

My search for James' story began when I located his name on the Memorial Gates, Windsor, on the Hawkesbury on the Net website.


  1. Wow, that is some shell. Imagine having to load that into the breech. Or standing under it when it came to earth.

  2. James Moses is my great great grandfather.thank you for this information,I've only recently started to look into my family history and it's great to know of his bravery during the war