A Huddersfield soldier killed in action on the first day of the Somme battle has left a poignant reminder of life in the trenches... and how gifts from home had kept him going.
Acting Cpl Herbert Moodycliffe was 27 when he died and had served nine years in the army.
He was the son of Mr and Mrs J W Moodycliffe who lived at Victoria, Holmfirth.
Married with one child, he embarked for France in August 1914 with the British Expeditionary Force and was in the retreat from Mons, the fighting on the Marne, the Aisne and at Hill 60 in May 1915.
He had written home to his parents in December 1914 thanking them for gifts he had received. “Things are not so hot this last day or two as we have gained a great amount of ground,” he said.
“The enemy’s position gets nearer their own country every day. The weather here is awfully cold – it is just like being on the top of Holme Moss.
“We have plenty of good clothing, scarves etc. The German wellington boots I have got keep my feet warm. They come up to my knees and keep the wet out so I cannot grumble.
“All the lads thank the people of England for their gifts. I don’t know how we could have stood it without them.
“We have had a good share. Most of them come from Huddersfield and Halifax. Gloves, knitted scarves, socks, shirts, drawers and useful things like these.”
Acting Cpl Moodycliffe is remembered on Underbank war memorial.
Many others from Huddersfield also died on that fateful first day.
Capt Robert Stewart was the son of John and Mary Stewart who lived at Thornleigh mansion in Edgerton.
He was serving with the 8th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment but died in the attack on Ovillers. He was 24 and is on the roll of honour at St Stephen’s Church in Lindley.
Lance Cpl Freeman Atkinson, 23, left behind a widow and two children when he was killed at Fricourt while serving with the 9th Bn King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
The family lived at 52 Moorend Road, Lockwood, and Freeman worked as an engine cleaner for the London and North Western Railway Company.
Pte Ernest Thompson, 30, of the 18th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment, was the son of William and Sarah Thompson, of 2 Bull Green Road, Longwood. He was reported missing on the first day of the Somme and is on the roll of honour at St Mark’s Church in Longwood.
Pte Ernest Crosland served in the 2nd Bn the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and was the son of Charles and Betsy Crosland, of 12 Savile Road, Lindley. The 24-year-old died at Beaumont Hamel and is remembered on the roll of honour at St Stephen’s Church in Lindley.
Pte Norris Green was serving with the 10th Bn the West Yorkshire Regiment and was killed at Fricourt. The 25-year-old was the son of Martha Green, of 34 Church Street, Moldgreen, and is on the roll of honour at Chist Church, Moldgreen.
Pte James Boadbent was 32 when he died at Beaumont Hamel while serving with th 1st Bn King’s Own Scottish Borderers. He lived in Jackson Bridge with his wife Elizabeth and is on the roll of honour at New Mill Working Men’s Club and Fulstone War Memorial.