Birth 12 Jul 1876 in Lambeth, London, Surrey, England
Death 19 May 1918 in Etaples, Pas de Calais, France
My great grandfather, John Moors, was a British Home Child and came to Canada alone, at the age of 13. He was admitted into the BHC system on an unknown date and traveled with the Annie Macpherson homes and did eventually return to England for a visit, to be followed later to Canada by his mother, father and sisters, two that also worked as domestics.
Transcribed from records generously provided by Bernardo’s Homes, “his father, John Moors, was living at 42 Princes Street, Stamford Street, Blackfriars, London. His siblings at the time were Grace and Alice Moors.
On admission: this boy has highly respectable parents but the father is afflicted and unable to engage in active work. He and his wife keep a little shop but their earnings are very small. The case is recommended by of the Mildmay Deaconnesses who works in South London. The family are very thankful for John to emigrate. He has been well brought up.”
He was among the thousands of British Home Children who were sent, by ship, to Canada to spend their childhood years working for others. In our family’s case, John was the only son of five children and in August of 1889, he crossed the Atlantic on the S. S. Parisian, along with 71 other children and in his case, departing on 8 August 1889 and arriving in Quebec on 16 August 1889. He was sent out from Stratford to work on a heavily wooded farm in the Arthur, Ontario area, near Guelph. He was separated from his family for almost nine years.
His placements are as follows…
Prior to requesting assistance from the Wellington County Museum and Archives, I learned many things about Alexander Brockie and his family and their participation in the pioneer life of the area. In conclusion, I did not have any success in finding John on an 1891 census. It’s as though he didn’t exist. However, I am grateful for these few remarks made by his supervisors. (a detail of the above record)
John has a really splendid home with good Christian people. He is highly spoken of and well-liked by the whole family. This is a fine farm. By G. Macintosh September 1889
John writes cheerfully says he is well and enjoys working on a farm December 23, 1889
John is in a good home and is a good boy and is to have $10.00 this year in addition to B. Co. Schooling V.G.Y. September 1890
John gets $5.00 per month this year. Is a good boy in a good home. Attends Ch & SS yet V.G.Y. September 1891
Mrs. B. writes that on account of her husband’s death, she will not be able to keep John after 1st April 17 March 1892
The following note was left for me, via e mail, by the archive assistant and I so appreciate her validation of bits I had already determined.
Unfortunately, I did not find any specific references to John Moors. I had hoped to find him listed with Alex Brockie in the 1891 census, but unfortunately I could not find them. This could be because not all of the 1891 census records for Nichol Twp. have survived. However, I did find a photograph of the house and some details of the farm which hopefully gives you some idea of the type of work John Moors would have been doing.
Alexander Brockie married Susan Husband.
I look at the Brockie finery and look at the images and description of their home and I wonder where young John fit into the picture, where he slept and whether or not he had company. In all that I’ve read about the Elora/Fergus area, nothing is stated about the farm workers and the fact that they were often children. There are several archives that support the fact that Susan lost her husband, Alex at a very young age and that from there, forward, she had to sell off property and possessions. This was an unfortunate affair. I wonder what relationship, if any, John had with this man and how his sudden passing affected him.
Mr. Charles Allan, Elora, Ontario
About this placement, an archives assistant from the Wellington County Museum and Archives, after her research specific to my request for assistance determined the following…
As for Charles M. and Charles W. Allan sharing land, it does not appear that this was the case. Charles Allan, 1828-1905, married Jane Hawkins, 1836-1915. Among his children were Charles W. and David M. Allan. Charles W. is listed in the 1891 census as a Grocery Clerk living in the Village of Elora, while David M. Allan lived on an Allan family farm just outside of Fergus in Nichol Township. David M. had a son, Charles M. Allan, 1891-1972. If John Moors was working on a farm, then it seems likely that John Moors worked for Charles Allan (father of Charles W. and David M.) who had several properties, including a farm in Pilkington Township (adjacent to Nichol Township – the township which encompasses Fergus and Elora).
Mr. Glennie (no first name), Conestoga, Ontario
Of Mr. Glennie, I have learned that there are many descendents of the Glennies in the Conestagan vicinity, but have yet to nail down, because no first name was noted which of these is connected with my Great Grandfather.
The narratives left behind by my own grandfather, John Moors, substantiate the type of work experience his father, John, was made to do.
“My father was born in England. He was a tall, big man with pale blue eyes and shiny red hair. It wasn’t very often necessary for Father to physically discipline us. It seemed to me he just needed to look at you and his eyes looked right through you.
He was sent out from England when he was a boy of about nine years of age (the age of 13 is substantiated by records), the only boy in a family of five children. He went into the bush country of Ontario as a stable boy. He lived in Arthur, not far out of Guelph, Ontario. Now, when he went out there, there was a hardwood forest in that part of the country. He worked there, the only member of his family in North America – until his father came out to Canada eight years later. Father became a foreman in a lumber mill which was hard, rough work in those days. He met Mary Eleanor Haddow in Hamilton, Ontario and they married.”
- My great grandfather, John Moors, was married to Mary Eleanor Haddow on September 29, 1903. I have spent many hours researching the short life of John Moors and have uncovered some interesting bits. Mary Eleanor continued to live in Hamilton, Ontario with her sister, Margaret, after the death of John in Etaples, France, as a result of a bombing raid on a tent hospital, where he was a patient at the time. Details follow in posts formerly added to my blog. There are some readers who are accessing my posts as assists to their own family history. I would really appreciate your contact and the identification of your family so that I also may be assisted in putting together a complete history. Thank you, in advance.
- My great grandfather served 3 years with the 13th Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, prior to fighting in the Great War. I collected a brief history for the years 1914-1938 here.
“When the Great War began in 1914, Colonel Sam Hughes, Canada’s Minister of Militia, scrapped the original national mobilization plan and asked the commanding officers of Militia units for volunteers to serve with battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Consequently, many members of the 13th Royal Regiment went overseas with the 4th Battalion, CEF, part of the famous First Contingent. Throughout the war, the unit served as a depot regiment that enrolled and trained men before despatching them to deploying CEF battalions. The CEF was not the only destination, either; the Royal Flying Corps accepted 82 men from the 13th, and 81 went to the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. Locally raised CEF battalions that received soldiers from the 13th included the 19th Battalion, CEF (145 men), 36th Battalion, CEF (124 men), 76th Battalion, CEF (506 men), 86th (Machine Gun) Battalion, CEF (600 men), 120th (City of Hamilton) Battalion, CEF (625 men), and the 205th (Tiger) Battalion, CEF (704 men). Of these, the 120th (City of Hamilton) Battalion CEF had the closest affiliation with the 13th Royal Regiment, so on May 28, 1916, that battalion formally accepted the Regiment’s Colours and took them overseas. The Colours were laid up in Westminster Abbey until March 5, 1919, when the Dean of Westminster returned them to veterans of the 120th (City of Hamilton) Battalion, which was broken up to reinforce other CEF battalions in 1917.
In the interwar period, the Canadian Militia underwent two major reorganizations (in 1920 and again in 1936) and several minor ones. The Hamilton area did not escape, and in 1920 the two most significant RHLI antecedents acquired new names: The Royal Hamilton Regiment and The Wentworth Regiment. In 1927, the former became The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, and the final reorganization in 1936 brought all but one company of The Wentworth Regiment into the RHLI, which then received its current title: The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment). To this day, the regiment is informally known as The Rileys.”
Yesterday I ended up on another tangent. My retirement seems to be an entire series of tangents, that seem for a time to be about everything else, but always lead back to me, my identity and what my soul speaks. My great grandfather John Moors of the 54th Battalion was in a #51 General Hospital bed near Etaples. Perhaps he was resting easy when out of nowhere, on the night of May 19, 1918, the enemy conducted a shameful air strike that left nurses and many patients wounded or as in my great grandfather’s case, dead. Thanks to The Great War forum and other Canadian archives, I was able to find several artifacts, including this silent film, an actual archive of the devastation, that relay the horror of that night. I am left to really think about the countless men and women who lost their lives in the years 1914 to 1918. I feel the strength and courage of my family of soldiers coursing through my own blood. It is a sacred bloodline.
Link for Through These Lines: Research Etaples Here. Read details about the air raids and peruse various links to War Diaries.
Photo Below: No. 7 Canadian General Hospital, ca. 1917
Source: Library and Archives Canada/Album of Photographs of No.7 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, France/C-080026
Photo Below: Funeral of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who died of wounds received during a German air raid, May 1918
Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William Rider-Rider/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-040154
Photo Below: Funeral of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who died of wounds received during a German air raid, May 1918
Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William Rider-Rider/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-040154
I am including, here, an image of the Etaples Military Cemetery, in order to recognize the powerful image of so many lives lost.
“Received telephone message from A/Principal Matron, Etaples, saying that the Etaples hospitals had been severely bombed during the night. One Sister (Nursing Sister K. Macdoneald, CAMC) had been killed and 7 wounded at No.1 Canadian Hospital, also many patients and personnel. At No. 7 Canadian General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing stuaff but 3 MOs were wounded and some patients killed. The Nurses’ Club was wrecked but the two BRCS workers were not hurt. At No. 26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties among the nursing staff – Miss Marshall, VAD slightly wounded on the head and admitted to hospital, and Miss Draper, VAD slightly wounded in the writst. One patient only was killed in this unit. Part of the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and one or two of the rooms nearest the railway siding are unfit for use. There were no casualties among the nursing staff at No.24 General Hospital. This unit took in a large number of casualties from the Infantry Base Depot and the Household Calvalry Camp. At No. 46 Stationary Hospital one VAD, Miss W.A.Brampton was somewhat shell-shocked. A number of patients were killed and wounded. At No.56 General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but some amongst patients and personnel. Nos. 35, 37, 4 and 2 Ambulance Trains were in the siding at the time and were damaged, the only casualty amongst the nursing staff being S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, slightly wounded above the eye. The Matron-in-Chief, CEF, the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS War Office, and DGMS were informed of all casualties.”
Subsequent diary entries took place when the Matron-in-Chief makes her visits. On the 22nd…she writes.
“Left for Etaples in the afternoon, arriving at the DDMS office at 7 p.m. Went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, to No.1 Canadian General Hospital where I called upon the Matron, Miss Campbell, and inspected the quarters where the recent terrible raid had occurred and saw the rooms which had been absolutely destroyed, also the adjacent building of HRH Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses which is more or less in ruins. The only thing left intact in the building was Her Royal Highness’s picture which was on a small table on the ground floor, neither table nor picture being touched. I saw the seriously wounded Sister, Miss Lowe, CAMC who was being nursed in a hut as her condition was too serious to allow of moving her to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. She was just conscious but was very ill.” Sister Lowe later succumbed to her wounds.
Attestation Papers: Front With gratitude for the Library and Archives Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca
Attestation Papers: Back With gratitude for the Library and Archives Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca
My great grandfather, John Moors, is mentioned and the circumstances of his final hours are described in the following documents. The above War Diary Report was accessed here on the War Diaries of the First World War on Library and Archives Canada.
War diary, May 1918, p. 6 / e001513822
War diary, May 1918, p. 19 / e001117835
While I understand that files of this nature are not for public distribution, I have saved filed from the War Diaries that directly pertain to the death of my great grandfather, John Moors. He gave his life for his country, Canada.
The following excerpt from this UK War Diary.
Sick Sisters 207
Etaples bombed: Received telephone message from A/Principal Matron, Etaples, saying that the Etaples hospitals had been severely bombed during the night. One Sister (Nursing Sister K. Macdonald, CAMC) had been killed and 7 wounded at No.1 Canadian General Hospital, also many patients and personnel. At No.7 Canadian General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but 3 MOs were wounded and some patients killed. The Nurses’ Club was wrecked but the two BRCS workers were not hurt. At No.26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties among the nursing staff – Miss Marshall, VAD slightly wounded on the head and admitted to hospital, and Miss Draper, VAD slightly wounded in the wrist. One patient only was killed in this unit. Part of the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and one or two of the rooms nearest the railway siding are unfit for use. There were no casualties among the nursing staff at No.24 General Hospital. This unit took in a large number of casualties from the Infantry Base Depot and the Household Cavalry Camp. At No.46 Stationary Hospital one VAD, Miss W. A. Brampton, was somewhat shell-shocked. A number of patients were killed and wounded. At No.56 General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but some amongst patients and personnel. Nos. 35, 37, 4 and 2 Ambulance Trains were in the siding at the time and were damaged, the only casualty amongst nursing staff being S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, slightly wounded above the eye. The Matron-in-Chief, CEF, the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS War Office, and DGMS were informed of all casualties.”
With gratitude to the National Archives of Canada for their rich archival collection. I intend for this information, from a wide variety of sources, to honour my grandfather and my family and to help us complete a narrative of our national history as it relates to one family.
Image below borrowed from Wikimedia.
Lavery, John (Sir) (RA) (RSA) – The Cemetery, Etaples, 1919
It is with gratitude that I have found and finally registered with The Great War Forum. The research and the heart felt participation of so many has been invaluable as I have piece-by-piece reconstructed the military history of some of my family. In order to respect the anonymity of the participants, I have used no names, but wish to point out this site for any individuals who are doing research on their own relations.
Yesterday, I wrote…
My great grandfather, John Moors, was killed while wounded in Canadian Hospital #51 during the bombing raid of May 19, 1918, leaving his widow and children to grieve in Hamilton, Ontario. I am so grateful to this site for sending me to various links regarding the circumstances of that night. I was wondering if anyone knows if the wounded/or killed soldiers of this night were awarded the Victoria Cross. Where would I obtain information on whether or not our family holds that history?
From a member.
Hi and welcome to the forum, as you can see this thread originally dates from 2008 and refers to the raid of the 1st June 1918.
My great uncle was also killed during the raid on Etaples on 19th May (in all probability one of those referred to in the Matron-in – Chief’s war diary (from Sue Light’s Scarlet finders site above) as one of the casualties brought in from the IBD see http://www.scarletfi…s.co.uk/90.html).
It is arguable whether the Infantry Base Depot (where the hospitals were located) was a legitimate target as it was a staging post for reinforcements, but at the time there were no air raid precautions were in place when the first raid took place on the 19th. There was no black-out and the hospitals were clearly marked with the Red Cross.
The raid on Etaples was conducted by Boghol (Bomber Squadron) 6 of the Imperial German Army Air Force. The Squadron flew AEG bombers
( http://www.wwiaviati…ers_german.html ) and was based at Matigny, close to Saint Quentin.
The series of raids became known as ‘the hospital raids’ and later cited as the League of Nations grappled with the ethics and morality of aerial bombardment during the subsequent post-war decades.
I’ve previously posted a link to the Canadian War Memorial site where there is a film of the funerals the following day(s) http://www3.nfb.ca/w…m.php?id=531255
four minutes into the film it can be clearly seen the padre is reading the eulogy over a mass grave.
Etaples cemetery (the largest CWGC Cemetery in France) is unique in that officers and men are segregated (the nurses are buried with the officers) whereas the casualties from the air raid are in a long line across the front of plots LXV – LXV111 (see CWGC http://www.cwgc.org/…LITARY CEMETERY click VIEW CEMETERY PLAN). It’s slightly raised and looks over the rest of the cemetery and probably not a bad place to spend eternity. From this I assume the internments shown in the film are of the other ranks, including your relative and mine, rather than the nurses who, with the officers killed that night are interred in plot XXV111.
Given the dates include those who died the following day I suspect the film shows the mass funeral on the 21st May but I have no evidence for this.
There are a number of posts on the forum concerning the raid/casualties e.g. http://1914-1918.inv…showtopic=70354
I have a copy of the War Diary for one of the Canadian Hospitals but can’t put my hands on it at the moment but it was available online in the Canadian War Memorial collections.
As far as I know no decorations were awarded as a result of this action and no VC has ever been awarded to a soldier named Moors (VC database Ancestry).
I am grateful to this member and to all of the Great War Forum.
Photograph and Toronto Star newspaper archive located here.
The Toronto Star: May 25, 1918
(My great grandfather, John Moors, was one of the Canadians killed in this German raid in Etaples, France)
Subtitle: Wonderful Courage of Sisters Under Rain of Hun Bombs Told by Toronto Star’s Special Correspondent – All Volunteer When Matron Calls – Monster Bomb Blows to Bits
SOLDIER’S BURIAL FOR THE GIRLS WHO DIED
Special Cable to The Star by F. A. McKenzie, Copyright
Hospital City in France, May 25 –
German kultur has shown itself again in the deliberate murder of Canadian and British nurses, doctors, orderlies and patients under circumstances of such appalling callousness that even those life myself who have witnessed endless German misdeeds since the early Belgian days turn away sickened. I have just been hearing the brave simple tales of our nurses who escaped. No words would sufficiently emphasize ones sense of their splendid conduct.
The hospital city is a well-known district placed around a valley in a sandy channel near the coast, where a large number of temporary hospitals have been grouped together. Since the early days of the war it has been frequently described in great detail. It’s position and its purpose are as perfectly well-known to the Germans as to ourselves.
Until Sunday our authorities, not believing that even the Germans would deliberately bomb a large hospital centre, left the place entirely open. Two big Canadian hospitals were there. These consisted of tents and wooden galvanized iron huts. There were no bomb-proof shelters, as shelter-giving protection even from bomb fragments.
Sad Sequel to Concert
On Sunday evening there had been a concert. The sisters returning to quarters suddenly heard a loud humming, and immediately one monster bomb fell direct upon the sleeping quarters of the Canadian orderlies and the other personnel. Many were blown to bits. Fire began and this gave the enemy a target. The survivors rushed up in an attempt to extinguish the flames. Those soon, however, made the whole area visible, thus clearly showing it even if the Germans did not know before what the place was.
The enermy airmen rained down bomb after bomb, some of small calibre solely man-killing bombs, others of a very large size. Two doctors, rushing to help, were caught by a bomb. One was killed and the other wounded. All the lights were immediately turned out except the little hand lamps with which the doctors and nursing sisters hastily sought to help the wounded. Sisters in night quarters were ordered to lie down under their beds.
All the Nurses Volunteer
The matron of No. 7 called two volunteers to move across the open under bomb fire and give needed help. Every sister present immediately volunteered. She took the nearest two, who moved out unhesitantly, as though selected for a special honour.
One bomb fell among five sisters in quarter No. 1, killing one sister almost instantly and wounding five others, of whom one died shortly afterwards. Another was very seriously hurt. The conduct of the patients, mostly British private soldiers, was magnificent. Their chief anxiety was lest the sisters should be hurt. In Ward 1, where one sister persisted in exposing herself in order to help, the men patients held her down, refusing to let her court almost certain destruction. Between bombs, doctors, nurses and patients able to move got about helping the injured and instantly flinging themselves on the ground as each bomb fell. There was nowhere to take anyone for shelter, for the huts were like tissue paper under the fire.
The first German squadron, after about a three-quarter-hour bombardment, sailed away. Immediately all energy was concentrated upon relieving the injured. British soldiers arrived to help and then a second German squadron came. Altogether four squadrons attacked this hospital city. Nearly every hospital besides the Canadian was bombed. The one exception was the hospital next the the German prison camp. The prison camp itself also escaped, the enemy evidently knowing its location. The total casualties amounted to many hundreds. Our Canadian list, you have officially received.
Given Soldiers’ Funerals
The funeral was held Tuesday in a beautiful cemetery near the pine woods and the sea. Everyone attended. Our girls were given a soldier’s burial. The Germans returned Tuesday night. This time, however, preparations had been made to repel them, compelling their retirement. Immediate steps were taken to make the camp more safe against attack, the nurses being taken to sleep at night time in the woods some distance away. Dugouts are now being hastily built to give all shelter. Yesterday afternoon steel helmets were served out to the nurses. One cannot fail to see how heavy the strain has been on them.
The story of this outrage is arousing the whole army to fury. Australian troops, besides our own, particularly swearing vengeance against every German. Many of the victims were Ontario folk.
Special recognition should be given to the orderlies who suffered so heavily, Canadian men being killed and injured. Many of these orderlies were elderly men who had served for years with their units since the early days of the war, doing service whose faithfulness and excellence aroused general respect.
All Deserve the V. C.
“Every night sister deserves the Victoria Cross for the way they kept on,” say the day sisters, but both day and night sisters have had an experience which showed to the full their splendid qualities. frankly, no words can give an idea of the horrors of Sunday night’s scene. It’s only relieving feature was the courage and faithfulness of all our people.
One German plane brought down contained two airmen, who declared they did not know there was a hospital below. This is incredible. Certainly their superiors knew, while the burning buildings must have revealed the position even to the blindest airman. They flew at a very low height, under brilliant moonlight. Their idea of ignorance is a cowardly evasion, adding horror to their crime. F.A. McKenzie
Nursing Sister, Katherine Maude Macdonald of Brantford, who is reported killed in action, May 19, is the first Canadian nurse who is known to have died in this attack on the hospitals.
A beautiful article is written titled “Angels of Mercy”: Canada’s Nursing Sisters in World War I and II and specifically in reference to the bombing at Etaples, France, a brief biography, with references with specifics about Gladys Maude Mary Wake.
And this…a comment left on a site titled Finding the Forty-Seven: Canadian Nurses of the First World War written by Debbie Marshall. This gives a detailed and frightening account of what that last night for John Moors must have felt like.
This from my grandmother’s (Dorothy Elsie Collis) journal, she was a nursing sister at Canadian general No.1
She and Gladys Wake ‘bob’ ‘bobbie’ graduated from The Royal Jubilee Hospital school of Nursing at Victoria BC.
May 19, “Had a terrible air raid from 10:30 p.m to 12:30 a.m. Was a beautiful night – as light as day…
Before I left for supper I heard distant guns and thought nothing of it. had just got to the kitchen door when bombs began to drop. There were several in the mess quarters and that set the rows of huts on fire, Two dropped outside the club, another outside our new quarters, the whole place was wrecked – poor little ‘Bob’ was buried, she had a fractured femur, a huge wound in the other leg and several smaller ones. Miss McDonald was killed. She had a small wound but it must have severed the femoral artery as she died of haemorrhage almost immediately. Wounded were taken to G ward. Several bombs dropped on the officers lines. One on top of Hill 60. Killed one M.O who was standing up and several others. There were about six of us in the kitchen on the floor. It was dreadful. We could see the fires through the window, hear the men shouting and calling. Hear bombs dropping, the guns would all stop until the machines came within range. All one could hear was their continual buzzing – then the guns again, then the bombs. The windows all fell in, dishes kept breaking, the plaster walls fell in in places. We were sure the next one would hit us. when there was a lull, we hurried back to the wards. One badly hurt man was brought to hut X dying. Three planes returned, one dropped several bombs then left us alone. several of the hill wards were hit, one destroyed. where the HSD men slept a number where killed and nearly as many wounded. The O.R was very busy the rest of the night. Private Wilson Was killed.
May 21. Miss McDonald was buried this a.m. A number of us went, also No.7, all our men. Capt Hughes was also buried. These funerals are dreadfully trying. Saw ‘Bob’ this morning, she looked terribly ill. has the most dreadful wounds, gangrene, I’m sure from the odour. Miss saunders came while I was there. Miss Wilson brought her from Le Treport. She was on a case. so glad she got here. Poor little “Bob” died at three o’clock. Saw Miss Wilson for a few minutes.
May 22, “Bob” buried at 9:30. We all went to the funeral, it was dreadfully trying. 46 of the boys were all buried together in one long grave.
May 23, Not busy, have had no patients since the raid. A number of our boys in hospital, suffering from shock. Miss lowe very ill.
May 28, Miss Lowe died this a.m. She had a fractured skull, was unconscious towards the last.
On April 12, a truly kindhearted member of the Great War Forum, visited the resting place of my great grandfather and took these photographs. The views of the cemetery are shot from the point of view of the marked graveside.