Robert Freeman Moulton

Robert Freeman Moulton
Born in St Ives in 1897, Robert was the eldest of three children born to Sydney Moulton, a bank cashier, and Clara (née Freeman). In 1901 the family lived at Cemetery Road, St Ives.

Robert's father, originally from Ireland, died early in 1911 when Robert was aged 13yrs. Robert's mother is listed in the 1911 Census as living from private means and employing a domestic servant. The family lived at 'Mon Abri', 2 Hazelmere Villas, St Ives. They were reported selling forget-me-nots in aid of shipwrecked sailors on  27 October 1916

Listed as enrolled with the Hunts Cyclists on 4 June 1915, Robert spent some time on coastal defence duties in Lincolnshire. He was transferred to the 1st/8th (Territorial) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. They suffered heavy casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 and drafted in reinforcements during the following months. Robert was most likely part of a draft of 249 men, many from the Hunts Cyclists, transferred on 22 July 1916.

Hunts Cyclists
Hunts Cyclists in training
Robert was immediately involved in heavy combat, part of the Battle of the Somme that lasted right through to mid November 1916. On his way back up to the front trenches on Sunday 12 November 1916, he was hit by a German a shell.

Initially reported wounded by the Hunts Post on 24 November 1916, news of Robert's death then came from two of his St Ives friends who were probably also drafted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at the same time, as reported on 1 December 1916. This report stated he died some time later.

Robert's mother asked for more details. The friends again wrote, as reported on 15 December 1916, saying he was killed instantly on or about 18 November 1916. Their change of details may have been an attempt to save Robert's mother the anguish of knowing her son suffered.

The official record shows he was killed in action on Sunday 12 November 1916, aged 19yrs. He is buried at Martinpuich British Cemetery, France.

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Source materials
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