Moses Holland was born in the period January – March 1899 in Wolverhampton, the son of Henry (a General Hawker / Licensed Pedlar) and Mary Holland, being the fourth of their five children. By 1901 the family were living in Kingsley Holt, Staffs, and that remained the situation for some years (1901 & 1911 Census), later moving to Thornby House, Consall, Staffs. (CWGC records).
Moses Holland initially served in the Leicestershire Regiment, Service No. 30572. He later transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment, 6th Battalion. Service No. 44545. and was posted on active service to France / Flanders. Research elsewhere indicates that he initially joined the Staffordshire Regiment. However this was not unusual as many joined their county regiment but were later moved to other regiments to make up shortfalls.
Moses Holland died on 5th October 1918. He is commemorated at the Vis En Artois Memorial Cemetery, Northern France.
On the day of his death the battalion were north east of the village of Epinoy some 8 km north west of Cambrai. The battalion war diary records that the battalion moved to relieve the 11th Manchester’s but does not record any engagements. The diary requires further research but appears not to record any casualties during this period albeit they were in action as on the following night a platoon was involved in fighting that claimed ten enemy dead – once again there is no mention of any casualties on the Lincolnshire side.
On 15th February 1919 details of Moses Holland’s death were reported in the Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel, “Pte Moses Holland 6th Lincolnshire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs H Holland, Rock Cottage, Consall Forge, was killed in action at Cambrai on October 5th 1918. He was called up in 1917 prior to which he was in the employ of Messrs. Bolton & Sons, Froghall, where he was very much liked. His Sergeant has written saying he was popular in his platoon and would be greatly missed, for he has always cheering up the others.”
The project team have not located any relatives of Moses Holland. However a photograph and some other documents are currently in the safekeeping of Elizabeth Winterton of Brookhouse Farm Cheddleton. They rented a cottage out to Moses younger sister Lydia who died aged 94 in around 1994. As a result of her death the items passed into Elizabeth’s care.
Among the documents are a card sent from Moses whilst servicing in the Leicestershire Regiment addressed from Bury St Edmonds which would suggest he was undergoing training in that area. Another possession is a spent .303 round – these were fired from the standard Lee Enfield rifle and also from the machine guns used at the time. The round has had a piece of wood inserted into it which has been shaped to look like an actual bullet. Perhaps Moses fired this either in action or whilst training?
Prior to his death Moses was featured in the Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel under a section showing those who had joined up. The picture used in the paper was taken from the picture that appears here. Although not conclusive the cap badge is of the Leicestershire Regiment based on the shape and outline suggesting it was taken just after he joined up. If anyone knows what the sleeve badges are on the picture please get in touch with the project team.
Footnote 1. 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment was raised at Lincoln in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and joined 33rd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. After initial training close to home, they moved to Belton Park, Grantham. On 4th April 1915 the Division assembled at Witley and Frensham for final training. They sailed for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Mudros at the end of June 1915. They landed near Lala Baba at Suvla Bay on 7th August. On 19th and 20th December 1915 the Division was withdrawn from Gallipoli, moving to Imbros then to Egypt at the end of January. They concentrated at Sidi Bishr and took over a section of the Suez canal defences on the 19th February. On 17th June 1916 the Division was ordered to France to reinforce Third Army on The Somme. They departed from Alexandria on with the last units leaving on 3rd July. By 27th July, they were in the front line on the Somme and took part in The capture of the Wundt-Werk, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Thiepval. In 1917 they were in action in Operations on the Ancre then moved north to Flanders for The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde and The Battle of Poelcapelle. In 1918 they were at Arras for The 1918 Battle of the Scarpe and The Battle of the Drocourt-Quant Line and fought in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and The Battle of the Sambre including the passage of the Grand Honelle. At the Armistice the Division was on high ground east of Havay.