Richard Henry Moore 21 March 1918

Richard Henry Moore was the only son of Mr and Mrs R H Moore of Bournemouth, born in May 1898. He came up to Laxton House in 1913 and left in July of 1916. He was a good all-round sportsman without being at the front rank, representing his House at rugby, fives and cricket. In his last summer, he played a few games for the Cricket XI. He was described as “a fair medium-pace bowler” who “occasionally hits with effect but without much style.” His finest hour came in the match against Lord Lilford’s XI. Batting at No. 9 he made a spirited 28 when the rest of the XI only scored 33 between them. It proved to be a match saving innings as heavy rain intervened with Lord Lilford’s team just twenty runs short of victory and only one wicket down. In his final term, Richard Moore won the Headmaster’s Prize for Scripture. 

In March 1917, aged 18, he entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and was given a commission in the Royal Field Artillery in January 1918. The next month he went to France and was fatally wounded on 21st March 1918 after just six weeks at the Front. His men were attacked, close to the town of Bapaume, on the first day of the great German Spring Offensive of 1918, which saw the Germans advance on the Somme, rather further and at greater speed than the British had managed in the previous two years. All the hard-won British gains of 1916, in the Battle of the Somme were recaptured by the Germans in a few days.

Richard Moore’s commanding officer wrote: “Though only with us a very short time, he endeared himself to all: he was such a bright, nice boy and I am sure he would have made a gallant and efficient officer”.

The commander of his brigade wrote: “The Germans made their big attack on our front early on the morning of the 21st (of March) and the whole area around brigade headquarters and my batteries were shelled throughout the day. About mid-day, I sent Lieutenant Moore to deliver a very important message to one of my battery commanders. I heard afterwards that Lieutenant Moore delivered the message and the map accompanying it all right after gallantly winning through the heavy German shelling…I presume he was wounded by shell fire on his return journey…I can only add that although I had known him only a short time, no-one could help liking him and I had always found him a very gallant and useful officer, who could ill be spared.”

Richard Henry Moore was just 19 years old at the time of his death. He was the first of 12 Oundelians to be killed in 8 days in March 1918.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow