|Son of Mr George & Mrs Esther Moon
Aged 19 years
Died 9th April 1916
Commemorated at Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais
Grave III. G.47.
|Born at Ringstead, enlisted at Northampton.
|The Rushden Echo Friday 9 October 1914, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Man by the Sea "Having a Fine Time"
Mrs Geo. Moon, of Rushden, has a son, Pte V. Moon, 9747, in the 1st Northants Regiment, E Company. About two months ago Pte Moon wrote his mother that he was preparing to go to France, and she heard nothing more until Tuesday last, having felt considerably worried in the interval. In the letter to hand on Tuesday he conveys the information that he has not left England but is billeted at Weymouth. He says: "We are having a fine time by the sea. They think a lot of soldiers here. If anyone enquires about me tell them I am all right."
|The Rushden Echo Friday 19 March 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Mix-Up with the Germans - Hand Grenades and Hideous Noises - Mechanical Contrivances for Throwing Grenades - A Duel in the Air - German Bomb-Thrower's Ghastly Trick - French and British Aviators Revenge
Memories of the past are often the reverse of pleasant, and this must always be so in the case of all soldiers, who, like Private V. Moon (Rushden), of the 1st Northants Regiment, have seen sights that were nauseating, have heard sounds of the never ceasing gun fire, and have endured experiences that were nerve-racking. He had been in the Army only about 12 months when the war broke out and he went to the front in September. His party were sent to within a few miles of La Bassee where a series of charges had to be made in order to gain a position.
"This was my first experiences of war in any shape," he hold a "Rushden Echo" representative. "It was night when we got to the firing line, and you could hardly realise what all the confused noises meant. A burning haystack near to us showed the enemy our movements. Bullets kept coming 'ping, ping,' all around us. A few yards at a time we progressed, one lot lying down firing while the others ran a short distance with bayonets ready to stick any German that came near enough. In this way we eventually got to the trenches we were aiming at. If the whole of us had rushed like the Germans to take the position, we should no doubt have been finished by the enemy. They always try to beat us back by sheer numbers but we are too well used to their game to allow that. The waste of life is shocking. What they fail to do with numbers, we manage to accomplish without a quarter of the lives lost. But in this case there was an exception as regards keeping what we had gained. The following morning, the trenches we had won were lost to the Germans, who stormed them too hotly for us. Some of the trenches here were so full of water that it came up nearly to your neck!
"One morning we were in a thorough mix-up with the Germans who came on flinging their hand grenades and making all sorts of hideous noises. We got to within a few feet of each other then, but fortunately I came through that charge all right. Ordinarily they can throw their grenades only a short distance, but at La Bassee I believe the Germans had some sort of mechanical contrivance for throwing these grenades. As soon as I heard this in operation I always 'nipped' to escape the missile that was sure to come.
"Trenches can be made to resist enfilading. Every few feet along the side, crevices are formed and these offer protection from anyone trying to fire along the trench. Of course, the communication trench cannot be enfiladed as it is dug zig-zag.
"Watching the aviators was always an interesting diversion. I saw a German airman being chased by an English aviator. It was rather amusing to watch the one getting ready to shoot the other, who would at once dive and come up some other side. I fancy there was only one of them armed and that the other was in a faster machine, as he seemed to get out of the way quickly, but would not go back over his own lines.
"At Hazebrouck a German aeroplane appeared and a bomb dropped from it into a field some hundreds of yards from the railway station. A large number of the inhabitants came out to see what had happened. As soon as the airman saw them he dropped another bomb amongst them, killing men, women, and children by the dozen. The airman also dropped his photo to the crowd. But he did not get all his own way. In a few moments about a dozen French and British aviators went up after him. Shells were fired at him from the front and so made him turn back into the men who were chasing him. Some got on top, others underneath, and the rest fore and aft. 'Ping, ping, ping,' went their revolvers at the enemy, and down he came with a fearful crash, dead as a door nail, and his machine completely smashed. He was quite a young fellow, only about 19 years of age. One could not help admiring his pluck.
"In the trenches one day I was actual witness of the death of 'Chick' Bryant, of Rushden. He had only just told a chap not to expose himself on account of the German snipers, and them came past me with cheery word. About two or three yards beyond, he stood up to speak to an officer. Bryant's head was just a few inches above the level of the ground. Before he had stood a minute, a bullet, evidently from the rifle of a German sniper, went right through his head. He fell straight down and did not utter a sound! He was buried hear some brick yards.
"The enemy snipers are very clever. I remember one night I stood up for no more than a few seconds. Although the darkness was such that you could not see many yards, a bullet whizzed past my ear, missing me by only a few inches. One of the smartest ways they have of hiding was found out here. We had noticed in the daytime some old waterproofs lying about in the fields on front of our trenches. They looked innocent enough and no one would have thought they contained anything. However, a flash of fire came from one during one night and was noticed. The occupants had to find new 'houses' after the next day! Seeing the game was up, one of the snipers leaped out, held up his hands and came towards our lines. The K.R.R.'s once surprised a party of German snipers who were in hiding and fast asleep".
"Did you become friendly with the Germans on Christmas Day?" asked our representative.
"Far from it!" said Pte Moon, with a laugh. "As regards the hand-shaking that we read about, I could not believe it. Our shaking was done with shells! Instead of exchanging cigarettes, we exchanged bullets. Then again on New Year's Eve there was more bombarding of each other. I don't know what it is the effect of out lyddite shells on the enemy. It must be terrible, as they shake the ground near us when they fall in the German lines. Often, if these shells fall not very far on the front of out trenches, a shower of stones and earth will reach us! Private Lawman, of Rushden, was hit in the wrist by something that came astray like that.
"One of the worst sights I saw was just in front of our trench. I shouldn't have known if I had not got to take part in a charge. A body was lying on the ground, with the top part of the head completely blown away, leaving the chin and the remainder of the frame intact! It gave me such an attack of nausea that I could not eat for several days! But since then, I have seen thousands of bodies similarly mutilated, and they did not affect me quite so much. One can get used to sights even as bad as that in time. I have known bodies to lie for three weeks before it was possible to bury them. This can be done only behind our trenches so that anyone killed on front must lie until we take another line of trenches and so leave them in the rear for the burial party to attend at night. Even then it is not possible to dig deepley. We had buried one man who had lain for a long time and he had not been buried more than an hours or so when a 'Jack Johnson" came over and dropped near the spot, and dug him clean out again!
"At one place we were so well supplied with machine guns that the Germans could never make a charge without getting it pretty hot. In fact, the gunners said they could dispense with our infantry and keep back any charge the Germans were likely to make, by cutting them up with machine gun bullets! I have been under some brick stacks on which were some of these machine gunners and the noise they make when a few of them are on the go is tremendous. Sometimes a 'coal box' will land amongst the brickwork and send showers of bricks and dust right up into the air. But so thick were the brick works that the shells could not penetrate at one go. The morning I got hit we had a very rough time of it. As we were digging, the Germans kept sending hand grenades over, and shells were falling all about. And yet it is safer in the advanced than in the reserve trenches.
"Some men's nerves break down altogether under the strain. I saw one poor fellow go absolutely mad. He went up and drown the trenches wailing 'They will be hurting somebody soon - I am sure they will!' I have known soldiers to drop down quite dead as a result of shock without being hit!
"After our artillery have bombarded the Germans for a few hours before nightfall some would say 'They are in for a charge from us to-night.' And so it usually resulted. After a good bombardment, we nearly always made a charge. Sometimes if the French had retired we should go and get their position back for them. If the Germans happened to be coming along we would let them get to within about 600 yards and then thin them out with a volley or two. If that did not stop them we should wait until they were near as 100 yards and then leap out of the trenches and go for them with our bayonets. That would turn them! Off they would go as hard as they could pelt, squealing like animals. "At Hazebrouck we could always tell when it was Sunday as that was the day aeroplanes came to drop bombs, otherwise we could not tell one day from another. There are always some farmers and peasants who remain to look after their property. They are sometimes within four miles, and when Bethune was being bombarded there were people living in their homesteads three miles between that place and the German lines. They seem to get used to having shells falling about all day. But very, very few buildings are left untouched, and most are completely demolished."
Pte Moon was wounded in the head and was treated in several hospitals, both in France and England. We wish him jolly good luck and feel proud to have met him.
|The Wellingborough News Friday 25 December 1914, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Local War Items - Thanks
The following letter was received by the Editor of the "Rushden Argus" from Private Lawman, who is at the front: -
"Thank you very much for the "Argus". It comes in very welcome both for myself and my chum Private V Moon, of Rushden. He passes it round to some of our comrades. We are now having a rest. We were inspected by the King and also General French."
|Evening Telegraph, Saturday 20th March 1915, transcribed by John Collins.
Rushden Soldier Home After Wound
Another Rushden soldier, Pte. V. Moon, of the 1st Northants Regt., has come home for a rest after having been wounded. His experience has been far from enviable. He went out in September, and proceeded to La Bassee, where his regiment had to make a series of charges. The waste of life was shocking, as the Germans always used to try to beat them back by sheer weight of numbers.
Pte. Moon had much experience of German grenades, which were thrown by a mechanical contrivance. At Hazebrouck he saw a German aeroplane drop bombs on a crowd of people, killing men, women, and children by the dozen. The airman dropped his photo. But he was punished. In a few moments about a dozen British and French aviators went up after him. Some got on top, others underneath, and the rest fore and aft. They fired with their revolvers, and machine and aviator fell with a crash.
Pte. Moon witnessed the death of “Chick” Bryant, of Rushden. He thought the German snipers were very clever. At Christmas he saw nothing of the handshaking with Germans. He said the Germans always ran away from British bayonets “squeaking like animals.” Private Moon was wounded in the head and treated at several hospitals, both in France and England.
|The Wellingborough News Friday 14 April 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Man Seriously Wounded
We are sorry to report that Mrs Moon, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has received news that her son, Pte Victor Moon, of the 1st Northants, has been seriously wounded. The unwelcome news was contained in a letter from a chaplain at the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station, who stated the Private Moon was wounded in the abdomen, back, head and arm. His condition was critical, but everything possible was being done for him. Pte Moon has been in the army three years, and went to France 18 months ago, being wounded in the head in January, 1915. Pte Moon used to work at Mr Fred Knight's factory, and his name is on the Park-road Baptist Church Roll of Honour.
|The Rushden Echo Friday 14 April 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Wounded - Pte Victor Moon - In a Critical Condition - Chaplain's Letter
We regret to state that Mrs Moon, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has received news that her son, Pte Victor Moon, Northants Regt, has been seriously wounded. The news is contained in a letter from the chaplain at the 33rd Casualty clearing Station, France, dated April 8th, as follows:-
"Dear Madam, I am writing to let you know that Pte Moon, 9747, Northants, has been wounded in the abdomen, back, head and arm. He is in a critical condition. Everything possible is being done for him from medical and nursing points of view. With earnest prayers for his recovery" etc.
Pte Moon has been in the army three years. He went out to France about 18 months ago and was wounded in the head as reported in the "Rushden Echo" at the time in January 1915. After that, being only 18 years old, he was kept on home service, and shortly after that he attained the age of 19 he went out to France again (Dec. 1915).
Before he joined the army, Pte Moon was employed by Mr Fred Knight, shoe manufacturer, Rushden. His name is on the Roll of Honour of the Park-road Baptist church.
Curiously enough Mrs Moon had some premonition that all was not well with her son just before she received the news, and she had the same feeling just before he was wounded 12 months ago.
Mrs Moon has also received a short letter from Pte Harry Parker, 7303, Machine Gun Section - Bedford Regt., a chum of Pte Moon, to say that he (Pte Parker) is quite well. Pte Parker has been wounded several times and it was rumoured recently that he was killed. Happily the rumour was unfounded.
|The Wellingborough News Friday 28 April 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden 'Steelback' Died of Wounds
We regret to state that Mrs Moon, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has now received official news that her son Pte Victor Moon, Northants Regiment, has died as the result of severe wounds he received early in April. On April 9th the chaplain at 33rd Casualty Clearing Station wrote as follows: "I am writing to let you know that Pte Moon, 9747, Northants Regt., has been wounded in the abdomen, back, head and arm. He is in a critical condition. Everything possible is being done for him from medical and nursing points of view."
Pte Moon had been in the Army three years. He was wounded in January, 1915. He was formerly employed by Mr Fred Knight, boot manufacturer.
|The Rushden Echo Friday 28 April 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Soldier Dead - Private Victor Moon - Fatal Result to Serious Wounds
In our issue of a fortnight ago we reported that Mrs Moon, of Crabb street, Rushden, had received a letter from the Army Chaplain at the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station to say that her son, Pte Victor Moon, 9747, Northants Regiment, had been seriously wounded in action about the abdomen, back, head and arm, and he was in a very critical condition.
We regret to state that Mrs Moon yesterday received a letter from the War Office to the effect that her son had died of his wounds.
As we have already stated, Pte Moon had been in the Army three years and was wounded in the head in January, 1915. After that, being only 18 years old, he was kept on home service for a while, but on attaining the age of 19 he returned to France.
Before joining the Army Pte Moon was employed by Mr Fred Knight, shoe manufacturer, Rushden, and his name is on the Roll of Honour of the Park road Baptist Church.
|The Rushden Echo Friday 2 June 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates
Rushden Man's Death - More News of Pte Victor Moon - Letters from the Front - Touching Tributes
Mrs Moon, of 48 Crabb-street, Rushden, has received further particulars about the death of her son, who died of wounds on April 8th, as announced in our columns at the time.
Writing from the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station, in France in answer to Mrs Moon's enquiries a Church of England chaplain (the Rev R. Gillenders) says:-
"Dear Madam, I am writing to let you known that Pte Victor Moon, 97471, Northants Regt, passed away here on 8th April at 8pm. He was buried at Bethune Cemetery on April 9th by me. His personal effects are being forwarded to you through the War Office. He received holy communion twice during his three days with us. He sent you his love and said you were not to fret or worry over him... He is buried in grave 47 (row of graves "N"). You will understand that I have hundreds of such enquires to answer and my briefness must therefore be excused."
Private H J Partridge 14407, 1st Northants writes:-
"I can't tell you how sorry I am that you have lost your son. You have my deepest sympathy and also that of all his comrades. He was well liked by all. I did not help bury you son, but I was close by when he was buried. I did not see him wounded, but saw him brought down the trench, and I am sure that he had all the care and nursing he possibly could have. He was wounded in the morning and passed away at night. I have made enquiries and I don't think he suffered much. I heard that a fellow had his cap badge, but I can't trace him yet. If I do I will send it to you."
Mrs and Mrs E H Muston, of 7 Cromwell-road, Weymouth, where Pte Moon was billeted when on home service, also send a long letter of sympathy, stating they had grown quite attached to Mrs Moon's son.
"It is as mother to mother," says Mrs Muston, "that I offer you our deepest sympathy, for it is only those who have suffered by being bereaved of their loved ones that known how hard the blow is to bear. But we must hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, that in His good time we shall all be gathered together where we shall known no more partings and be with our loved ones again. This war seems to be such a dreadful affair. Cheer up the best you can and think that he has gone to a better place."