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680568 DVR. W. MOULDING.  R.F.A.


William Moulding was born in the final quarter of 1897 in Preston.  His father was William Moulding (b. 1869 in Preston), a cotton weaver.  His mother was Ellen Hayhurst (b. 1873 in Preston).  William and Ellen were married in 1893 and they had four children: Elizabeth (b. 1894), Edwin (b. 1896), then William, and finally Margaret (b. 1901).  William snr died in 1902 and in 1908 Ellen married William snr’s younger brother, Edwin (b. 1879 in Preston), a hairdresser.  The family situation makes the 1911 Census difficult to complete.  Edwin is listed as head of the household and Ellen is shown as his sister-in-law and Ellen’s children as Edwin’s nephews and nieces.  They lived at 104 Manchester Road, Preston.  Young William (then 13) had started work as an errand boy for a tobacconist.


William enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in 1915 when he was still only 17.  He was given service number 680568 and posted to “C” Battery of 286 Brigade.  He landed in France with 57th Division in February 1917 and fought that year in the defence of Armentières and later in the Second Battle of Passchendaele.  In 1918, he fought through the German Spring Offensive and the final advance in Flanders, including the capture of Cambrai in October.  At the Armistice, the Brigade was stationed at Breucq, near Lille.  William contracted influenza, from which he died on 6 December 1918.  He was 21 years old.  He died at 14th General Hospital, at Wimereux, near Boulogne, so it’s possible he was being evacuated but never made it home.


Rank: Driver

Service No:  680568

Date of Death: 06/12/1918

Age:  21

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “C” Bty., 286th Bde.

Cemetery/memorial reference:  XII. B. 29.


Additional Information: Son of William and Ellen Moulding, of Preston.


William’s older brother Edwin also served in the artillery.  He was 687256 GNR. E. MOULDING.  Edwin had been in the Territorials before the War and was originally assigned service number 2000.  He was posted to 1/3 West Lancashire Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and he landed in France with 55th Division on 30 September 1915 (he was 19 at the time).  Edwin survived the War.  He was a hairdresser, like his uncle/step-father.  He married in 1923 and died in 1970.

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