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Remembered Today:

RSM John Lawrence Moloney


Liz in Eastbourne
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Remembering my great-uncle John Lawrence Moloney, Regimental Sergeant Major, Royal Field Artillery, in 22 Brigade, 7th Division, who was killed in action near Gheluvelt on 29 October 1914. He came from a large Irish family, and his father and brothers were all in the British army. He was a married man of 41, who had joined the army as a boy and served in South Africa and India.



Last year I said that his death was mentioned in The War Diary of the Master of Belhaven, because a family member thought so, but now that I have obtained a copy I am sure that this is an error, based on the mention of the wounding of a Major Molony in the same brigade. There is an entry for him (my great-uncle) in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour describing how he was taking out the last of the Brigade staff horses to a safer place when they were hit by a shell.



He is commemorated on the Menin Gate.


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I was just reading the Brigade diary [WO 95/1643] last night for the first time - his death is mentioned in the margin; the entries are very brief .... not surprising as the fighting was quite desperate over several days:-"in the afternoon the line broke at Gheluvelt and our infantry retired..Batteries withdrawn in good order under heavy fire.." It looks as if 5 men of the 22nd Brigade staff were wounded that day or the day before. As you say, one battery commander Major Molony was killed on the 21st October, another, Major Bolster on the 23rd October, and the third Major Hill was wounded on the 31st. I see that he had been RSM of the 22nd since 1912.

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Thank you very much - this is excellent as it should prevent any perpetuation of the idea that Major Malony (as it is spelt in the book) was actually RSM Moloney. I've never researched the RFA but now you have given me the reference number will look at the diary myself - is it digitised?

EDIT I have just received the WD page mentioning my great-uncle being killed - many thanks for this. Typically, they spell the name wrong there as well - like the Major, without an 'e' - but 'RSM' is very clear!

The misspelling of the name was neither here nor there as it is always happening, and Hamilton (the Master of Belhaven) got it wrong for the Major as well. But I couldn't imagine an officer calling an RSM a Major and the date, 21st, was wrong, necessitating an assumption that he'd died of wounds over a week later. Hamilton himself was taken to Ypres with internal injuries on 27th so was not in a position to mention RSM Moloney's death on 29th in any case.

But does the war diary say the other man, Major Molony, who commanded 104th Battery, was killed? Hamilton describes him being taken away by ambulance, I couldn't find a CWGC entry and thought he must be Major Trevor Charles Wheler Molony, whose dates were 1868-1947.

My great-uncle has a very cheerful, rather jaunty photograph in De Ruvigny and there is clearly no reason to doubt the story that he was seeing to the horses at the time of his death, which fits him much better than the story in the book about the Major.

Liz

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I'm extremely grateful to you. I do like to remember these men and what happened to them as accurately as possible, not just sentimentally, and this confusion had bothered me.

The war diary even says, in the same entry where my great-uncle's death is noted in the margin, that several horses were killed.

So, RSM John Lawrence Moloney, you were killed trying to get the last horse to safety, just as the officer said who is quoted in his entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour.

:poppy:

Liz

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