Moses Yates: A Boy Soldier from Tyldesley

This blog post was written by Michael Yates from Leigh Local Studies.

Moses Yates Leigh Journal L1916.1.P7
Image 1: Newspaper article covering the death of Private Moses Yates – Leigh Journal, 14 January 1916.

My great uncle was born on the 18 July 1898 at 50 Sale Lane, Tyldesley. He was the eldest of five children; Lily, Minnie, Annie and Polly. He joined the army, the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, on the 2 January 1915 aged 16. After training he was shipped to Gallipoli, arriving on the 25 September 1915 at Sulva Bay, and in the trenches five days later.

Unlike the trenches in France, at Gallipoli troops could not recuperate behind the lines in relative security since there was nowhere to go that wasn’t within artillery or rifle range of the Turks.

Moses wrote to his mother, Ellen, on the 7 November telling her that ‘things are very quiet here at present, we are still at Sulva Bay, so you can watch our movements in the papers, we have been in the trenches since the 30 September, without being relieved’.

In his last letter home, written on the 22 November, Moses wrote ‘just a line to let you know I received the ‘Journal’ and your letter. A great many who came out with our draft have gone off the Peninsula sick, in most cases they have dysentery’.

On the 26 November terrific thunderstorms flooded the Peninsula followed by freezing snow. Many men froze to death in the trenches. Sadly one of these was Moses, who died on the 1 December 1915 aged 17. Moses has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli and on the Tyldesley cenotaph. Moses was posthumously awarded the Star, War and Victory medals. His family still have Moses’ death penny.

 

References:

Image 1: Photograph of Moses Yates – Leigh Journal, 14 January 1916.
1911 census of England, Lancashire, Leigh, Yates household.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website – http://www.cwgc.org/
‘Just like Hell’ Local Men at Gallipoli, 1915 – Fred Holcroft.
St John’s Mosley Common baptism registers – Wigan Archives & Local Studies.

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