GUNNER JAMES ALFRED MOORE
ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
16TH AUGUST 1917 AGE 24
BURIED: BARLIN ROAD CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
The words of this inscription come from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, begs him to stay at home because she fears for his life. Caesar replies:
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
The inscription, chosen by Gunner Moore's father a fisherman from Gravesend in Kent, is a literary way of saying that his son was a brave man, who knew the risks he was taking when he enlisted in November 1915. Moore wasn't an original volunteer but by November 1915 he knew conscription was coming and joined up before he was called up.
I'm curious about this inscription, or rather about the Moores. They weren't obviously educated people - both father and son were fishermen, sister was a servant, mother was 'at home', yet they have chosen an eloquent, original and appropriate inscription that I haven't noticed before.
Moore served with the 96th Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, which went to France in May 1916, whether Moore was with it at that date is never easy to ascertain but he was certainly with it when he died of wounds on 16 August 1917. The Battery had newly transferred to the Canadian Corps and in mid-July was at Lievin. The Historical Record of 96th Siege Battery R.G.A. records the circumstances of his death:
"On the night of August 14th, the eve of the assault [on Hill 60], the Battery was heavily shelled with gas and H.E. In spite of this, 120 rounds were fired and many lorries of ammunition unloaded. Bombardier Staines, Gunner Wain, Gunner Neill, and Gunner Moore were killed on this most unpleasant night, and Gunner Taylor was wounded."
According to the CWGC records, Gunner Moore died of wounds, which is born out by the fact that he's buried in a Casualty Clearing Station Cemetery and that his date of death is given as the 16th, not on either the 14th or the 15th, the night of the heavy shelling.