Tom Culing’s War
As a child I recall spending time sitting with my great uncle Ern (Tom Culling) He wore a back brace following a injury while on duty as a Sergeant in Southampton City Police. Laying on his couch he would reminisce about his life in the merchant navy during the first world war. I guess some of this memory’s sparked my interest in history and The first world war. Ern had been “trooping” during the Gallipoli campaign taking troops into the beaches then later on evacuation duties. I have an little piece of folded red ribbon with an attached paper note by a rusty pin written on the paper in pencil are the words
” found in the Turkish trenches”, which uncle Ern gave me before his death. I remember when in a anti smoking debate he would tell me the good a smoke as to troops evacuating from the Gallipoli beach. His Great War saw service not only in trooping actions but on several hospital ships.
When I started working in a local hospital in the late 70s most of the old men on the wards were veterans of the Great War some if pressed would talk of life in the trenches and of the seas of mud and how men and horses were swallowed up if they stumbled off of the wooden duck boards, drowning in the sludge. Gas Attacks seemed to be a memory to or dread for many of them. The number of unmarried spinsters was also noticeable on the wards due to the loss of men in the war.
Suddenly these men and women are all gone and by the time l left heath care (2010) the old men who were Second World War veterans were becoming less and less. Some years ago now we decided to visit the area of the war in Europe, staying in a cottage close to the Somme. Visiting numerous war cemeteries memorials and battlefields I felt it was something that everyone should do at least once, until you visit the scale and human cost of the conflict can not be appreciated. To make our trip personal we decided to visit the grave of my great grandfather John Moss
Guardsman James Moss
My great grandfather James Moss died on active service in France he is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery Mericourt-L’Abbe Somme which is approximately 19 kilometres North East o Amiens and !0 kilometres SW of Albert. and just a couple of miles from Mericourt on the Corbie Road. John Moss was taken ill at the front and died at 36/38th Casualty clearing station of a ruptured appendicitis on 27th September 1916 he has a marked grave next to a fellow Grenadier Guardsman. the Cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.