JAMES MOORE

The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - FOLIO -

When the war be­gan, New­found­land was still 35 years from join­ing Canada. A British do­min­ion, it raised its own reg­i­ment. In St. John’s, James Moore, a 22-year-old long­shore­man with a heart tat­tooed on his right arm, was among those who would be known as “The First Five Hun­dred,” and he joined the same con­voy that took Pearl and Alis­tair Fraser to Eu­rope.

Af­ter a year of train­ing in Eng­land, the New­found­lan­ders were sent as reinforcements to Gal­lipoli, in Turkey, where the Al­lies’ am­phibi­ous at­tack against the Ot­toman Em­pire six months ear­lier had de­volved into a quag­mire. Ar­riv­ing the night of Sept. 19, they came un­der im­me­di­ate fire, and for the next three months en­dured shelling, in­tense heat and a short­age of drink­ing wa­ter. Un­buried bod­ies drew clouds of flies. “A lot of our boys were stricken with dysen­tery,” Pri­vate Moore wrote in a let­ter to his mother.

In Novem­ber, a three-day storm flooded their po­si­tions; then came snow and frost. “We were in a ter­ri­ble state in the trenches and suf­fered un­told hard­ship,” Pte. Moore wrote in his let­ter. The day af­ter, while fetch­ing wa­ter for din­ner, he was hit by shrap­nel “as large as grapes.” Severely wounded, he was sent to a hos­pi­tal in Malta, where the British kept a base, and from there he wrote to his mother that he would try to send her the shrap­nel from his leg as a sou­venir.

In the spring, he re­joined the reg­i­ment as it pre­pared to join an of­fen­sive that be­came syn­ony­mous with slaugh­ter: the Bat­tle of the Somme. At­tack­ing at Beau­mont-Hamel on July 1, the New­found­lan­ders were blasted by Ger­man fire. “The men were mown down in heaps,” reads the reg­i­men­tal di­ary. Through the night, the sur­vivors crawled back to their lines. The next morn­ing, of the 801 men who had gone into bat­tle, 68 made roll call.

Although he suf­fered a shell wound, Pte. Moore re­mained on duty. His reg­i­ment, mean­while, was pulled out, re­built with fresh troops and, in Oc­to­ber, sent back to the Somme, where the bat­tle con­tin­ued to grind away. Dur­ing an as­sault near Gueude­court, a shell burst shat­tered Pte. Moore’s left leg and nearly sev­ered his right foot. He man­aged to crawl into a trench cap­tured from the Ger­mans. Although in great pain, he was stranded by gun­fire for two days be­fore he could be res­cued.

Sur­geons would have to am­pu­tate his right foot and his left leg above the knee. “I have been wounded again. This time I am out of it for good,” he wrote to his mother. It would be two years be­fore he was well enough to re­turn home.

His great-grand­daugh­ter Stephanie Furey is now a cor­po­ral in the same reg­i­ment.

COUR­TESY OF THE FAM­ILY

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