The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Moss, Herbert Stanley (1897 – 1922)


Herbert was the youngest son of Thomas and Mary Ann Moss. He was born in Berkhamsted on 3 February 1897 but was baptised in Bletchley in June 1897. Although his father was from London, his mother and all his elder siblings were born in Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire.

His father was a stationery engine driver. The family lived at number 15 Mill Street, next door to the Edward V1 public house. By 1911 Herbert had left school and was an apprentice printer at Coopers Chemical works. His father was working as an electrical engineer at Berkhamsted School.

Herbert would have been just 17 when war broke out. We know from his medal card that he was sent to France on 16 May 1915. Initially he served with the Army Service Corp as private T4/107985 but by 1918 he had transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers as private 42591. On the night of 21 March 1918 he was captured by the Germans at St Quentin. He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner. Initially in Parchim, a camp built on a former cavalry drill ground three miles from the town. It held 25,000 men, with up to 45,000 more assigned to work camps registered there. Later at a camp called Cassel, which held 20,000 POWs. By this stage of the war the German population was struggling for food and therefore, conditions in the camps were poor nutritionally.

At the end of the war Herbert was sent home but he never recovered, suffering “much illness”. He died aged 25 on 23 December 1922, the Gazette stated that his illness “was through the treatment he received whilst interned in Germany”. It went on to say “Mr & Mrs Moss had four other sons wearing the Kings uniform in the war and Herbert was clearly loved by all, including very many friends. He had been a member of the town band and Sunday School teacher, also a member of St Peters Choir, and his loss is deeply felt. The Rector of Berkhamsted conducted the funeral service and the chief mourners were father and mother, Olive, Annie, Lizzie, Florrie and Lily (sisters) Harry, Tom, Joe, Sidney and Fred (brothers) Mr H Cains, Mr A Hurst, Mr C Woods (Brother in law) Mrs F Moss (sister in law) and Miss Louise Mitchell. At the church were also several of his old friends and colleagues and beautiful floral tributes”. “The coffin bore the inscription “Herbert Stanley Moss died 23 December 1922 aged 25 years.” Also, on the coffin was laid a spray of flowers with the words “From his dear friend Mr T Ellens “Loved one, now the toils are o’er, ends they battle from the Crown: on life’s rough way and barren shore, Thou hast laid my brother – grant him. Lord Eternal rest with the spirts ever blest” “.

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