Hebert Victor Moores was born in Ashton-Under-Lyne on 13th May 1897. He was the son of Son of William Herbert and Mary Jane Moores and had an elder brother named Donald.
Following communication with Victoria Cross (Credit Featured Image), and with the help of Salford War Memorial and Manchester Regiment Forum, a profile is provided to commemorate Victor, as he was known in the family.
Victor was educated at Blackpool, Seedley and Manchester Grammar (1908-13) Schools and worked for Scottish Amicable Assurance Company. Victor and Donald both played Lacrosse for the Seedley Club, where there father was Vice President of the Team. William Moores was then running the Langworthy Hotel in Seedley.
Donald was also employed in the Insurance business. He enlisted Number 8232 in the 2nd City (Pals) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (later became 17th Battalion) on the date of formation as 2nd September 1914. He was posted to VIII Platoon of B Company, which was Commanded at Heaton Park by Lieutenant John Greville Madden.
The minimum age for enlisting was eighteen, so Victor waited until March 1915 to attest as number 8359 in the 17th Battalion – presumably claiming to be at least two months older than his actual age. Victor was posted to B Company and trained at Heaton Park with his brother Donald was part of VIII Platoon.
The 17th Battalion in France in November 1915 and defended tranches near the Somme River and villages of Maricourt, Vaux and Suzanne. Victor had two weeks leave at home in Seedley at the end of June 1916. He then returned to France and rejoined his Pals, preparing for the great advance.
The Battalion took part in the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. Advancing from Maricourt to liberate the fortress village of Montauban, the Battalion then secured the defences and held back two German counter-attacks.
Victor was reported to have been killed by a shell in the action, aged 19. He is commemorated at St Luke’s Church in Salford, where the plaque specifies 2nd July as his date of death; although other records indicate 1st July. The 2nd July date would indicate that Victor had succeeded in the advance to Montauban and was probably killed on the next day, when the German artillery made sustained attacks on the Manchester men, as they endeavoured to gain cover in the ruins of the village. B Company was posted to the east of the village defences, under the command of John Madden, who was then a Captain and received a Military Cross for the action. In common with most Other Ranks from the Battalion, Victor’s remains were not identified after the War and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
William Moores received his son’s effects, including funds of £16 14s 6d. William will also have received Victor’s 1914/15 Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal. WIlliam entered into correspondence concenerning recovery of Victor’s possessions, left at Lark Hill Camp, prior to embarkation and Suzanne, before the advance. His letter of 27 May 1917 showed anger and distress:-
“Surely your Department has had time to these details. His original effects were left at Larkhill…and….the rest camp, before he was allowed to be murdered at 19 years of age….I have no token of his…Perhaps you can give me some satisfaction to soothe me, or shall I agitate.?”
Detailed reports and explanations were provided, including one from the Battalion Commanding Officer, yet no further effects were found.
William’s trauma can be seen on notes on the Service Record including his comment that despite efforts to educate Victor at Manchester Grammar Shool:-
“…he might just as well have been a wastrel by the way he was treated.”
Donald Moores did not go overseas with 17th Battalion and was posted the 25th Reserve Battalion, at Altcar, on 8th November 1915. He was then posted to 1st Garrison Battalion on 1st February 1916 and served in India from 25th February 1916. He was diagnosed with chest complaints at Allahabad in July 1916, returned Home and was discharged with sickness on 25th July 1917. He was suffering from Pleurisy and Bronchial Catarrh. Donald received a British War Medal and Silver War Badge for his Service, along with a Pension for his ill-health. He later lived near Lytham and continued to have chest problems.
See Salford Advertiser/Salford Reporter entries: 15/07/16