MOSES BOON 

Rank: Private
Service Number: 10120.
Regiment: 1st Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Monday 16th November 1914 Age 20County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 19 - 22.
Belgium

Son of Mr. Joseph Boon and Mrs. Frances Boon of Congleton Edge, Congleton, Cheshire. His stepmother was Mrs. Gertrude Boon. He had three sisters, Agnes, Annie and Alice Boon, as well as four half-sisters, Amy, Florence G, Mary E. and Nellie Boon, along with four brothers, Joseph, James Henry, Ernest and Arthur Boon. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a Collier/Hooker Up at the Victoria Pit, Red Bull, Biddulph, Staffordshire. His brothers served in the Great War, Joseph in the Lancashire Fusiliers and James Henry, Ernest and Arthur in the Cheshire Regiment. All survived the war.

Private Moses Boon enlisted into the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Chester on the 13th of June 1913, aged 19. He was injured twice in peace time. On the 13th of August 1913 he cut his leg quite severely on barbed wire while on a Cross Country run, he was discharged from hospital on the 1st of September 1913 while still stationed at Chester. The 1st Battalion were stationed at Ebrington Barracks in Londonderry as part of the 15th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division. It was here where he was injured for a second-time suffering scalding over the face and neck. He was admitted to hospital where he remained from the 19th of July to the 1st of August 1914.  On the 14th of August 1914 the Battalion left Londonderry on two special trains and on arrival at Belfast they marched to York Docks, where they embarked on the S.S. Massillia under sealed orders which revealed their destination as France. The Battalion landed at Le Havre on the 16th of August 1914.

The "Old Contemptibles" were the original members of the British Expeditionary Force and saw service before the 22nd of November 1914. The term derives from the German Kaiser's Order of the Day on the 19th of August when he commanded his troops to " Walk all over General French's contemptible little army They were all regular soldiers or ex-regulars who had been recalled from the reserve when war was declared. Later in the war, it was usual for troops to spend only two or three days in the front-line trench. They would then spend a similar period in the support trenches, a little way to the rear, then a further period away from the immediate combat zone. But in the early months of the war, the small British Army was hard pressed and much longer periods were spent in the firing line. The Cheshire's went into the front line on the 5th of November and stayed there until the 20th of November. The Regimental History records. Although the actual fighting was not as severe as later on, this tour of the trenches was as unpleasant as any of the first two years. It was the beginning of trench warfare without any of the amenities which were afterwards introduced. There were no sandbags, no communication trenches, no shelters of any kind, no cooking, though Sproule managed to get tea to the trenches every day. The rum ration, two or three times a week, was the only solace the men had. It was most uncomfortable". During the tour, 66 men would be killed and a further 99 wounded. There would only be one day when someone was not killed. During the 5th of November, the Battalion took over front line positions near the " 6 Kilometre stone", south of Ypres (now Leper), Belgium, along the Menin Road. The next day, the Cheshire's were subjected to heavy enemy fire. On the 7th, the Battalion War Diary records "Very heavy  shelling in morning, enemy's infantry attacked at 14:00 hours, "C" Company went to re- enforce Regiment on our left. Enemy repulsed, 25 captured". The day had seen 2 Officers and 4 other ranks killed, 22 wounded and 8 missing. The History continues "At 05:30 hours on the 10th, the most terrific fire that the British had yet experienced broke out. The 1st Battalion diary records the bare fact and goes on to say that "the enemy appeared to be massing in a wood south of our position, but our shells scattered them and they were easily repulsed by our rifle fire, with heavy casualties to them" Other troops had more severe fighting and the breakthrough of the Prussian was only checked by the gallantry of three weak Battalions called 1st Guards Brigade and the King's Regiment and the Duke of Wellington Regiment. By the 14th November, the Germans were pressing the British position heavily. The Cheshire's had been shelled every day and they were now ordered to withdraw their line approximately 150 yards. This withdrawal started at midday and was completed by 16:00 hours. The Diary notes "The enemy were pressing on all the time and consequently our casualties were rather heavy. Two German patrols of 15 and 7 men were shot down just outside our trenches." It was during this engagement that Private Moses Boon was amongst those killed in action.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1918.

BOON, In loving memory of our dear son, Private Moses Boon, of Congleton Edge,

Battalion The Cheshire Regiment, who was killed in action November 16th, 1914.

What pain he suffered we cannot tell,

We never saw him die,

We only know he passed away And never said good bye.

Deeply regretted by all.


Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on Moses.

© Cheshire County Memorial Project
2016