Private William Herbert Moisley



William Herbert Moisley was born on 6 November 1872 at Little Ouseburn, Yorkshire, one of at least six children of boot and shoemaker Joseph Moisley and his wife Ann (nee Petch). By the early 1890s he was working as a grocer's assistant and saw service in the 2nd East York Artillery Volunteers.

On 18 February 1892 Moisley enlisted in the 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars (No.3706). He served with the regiment in India (1893-95) and at sea (1895-98) before returning home and being transferred to the Army Reserve. However with the outbreak of the Boer War, on 28 December 1899 he was recalled, serving in South Africa in 1901 and 1902 before returning home and once again being transferred to the reserves. He was discharged on the completion of his twelve year engagement on 17 February 1904.

At some stage in the next decade Moisley found work as valet to Lord Cole (it is likely that he knew Cole while in the 7th Hussars), later moving to Cole's estate at Florencecourt, County Fermanagh. On the outbreak of war, when Cole was ordered to embark for France in command of A Squadron of the North Irish Horse, Moisley joined the regiment (between 8 and 10 August 1914). He was issued regimental number 968 (later Corps of Hussars No.71179).

Moisley embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, serving as Cole's batman. He saw action with the squadron on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

Cole mentioned Moisley in two letters home to his parents at the end of 1915:

I am very well & pig fat. Moisley is invaluable as a cook & servant & in controlling the other servants.

Old Moisley is invaluable out here. He is not half a bad cook & looks after any things very well.

It is likely that Moisley remained with Cole throughout the war. In January 1918 Cole relinquished his command of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment and returned to Ireland, probably taking Moisley with him. He was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 8 May 1919.

After the war Moisley worked as Cole's butler until his retirement. On 13 February 1922 he married Kate Bridges, the couple having seven children at Florencecourt. He died on 24 October 1961 and was buried in Killesher (Saint John's) Church of Ireland Cemetery.



I am grateful to Margaret Kaspar for providing the images of her father, which date from his time with the 7th Hussars.