Baxenden Lads: Moss J

6th September 1916

PTE. 24555 JAMES MOSS of the East Lancashire Regiment was killed in action near Ypres in Belgium on September 6th 1916. James was the adopted son of Mr. & Mrs. Heys, formerly of Top o’the Bank Farm, Rising Bridge, and, in 1917, living in 9 Albert Street, Accrington. He was aged twenty one, and enlisted in the East Lancashire Regiment as a regular soldier in May 1914, some three months before the outbreak of war in August. Before that he worked at Messrs. Nicoll’s Chemical Works, Baxenden.

At the time of his death he had seen a considerable amount of fighting in France and Belgium. He was a member of the machine-gun section. He was on patrol during a quiet period when he was killed. It was four months later that his adoptive parents were officially notified of his death, although letters to his home by his comrades indicated he was killed by a sniper.

In the chaos of later battles, James’ body disappeared. His name, therefore, is inscribed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. On the Memorial are the names of almost 55,000 men who died in the Ypres area between October 1914 and August 16th 1917 and who have no known grave. The Memorial spans one of the two main gateways of the old town. The names are inscribed on panels inside the archway and the stairways leading to the ramparts of the town wall. Three hundred and three men of the East Lancashire Regiment are named, and James’ name is one of them.