Information supplied by Victoria (grand-daughter of Ernest Ralph Cave Moy) and Chris Booth
Ernest Ralph Cave Moy (known as Ralph) was born to Henry and Eliza in Malden, Surrey, in approximately 1899. In 1911, the family were living at Cleever House, 24 Grove Crescent, Kingston on Thames. In the years before Ralph was old enough to enlist with the Army, he attended Kingston Grammar School.
On 11 November 1916 he enlisted with the Army and served with the colours for two years. In 1918 he was placed into the 3/8th London Regiment, something which sparked concern with his father and older brother, William. In May 1918, both wrote to the War Office to request Ralph’s transfer to the Royal Field Gun Artillery, with whom William was serving, so that the elder brother could keep an eye on his young brother. The letter below shows William’s request to the War Office:
Thankfully, the War Office relented and allowed Ralph to join his brother’s regiment, with the 50th Brigade. By 11 June 1918, Gunner Moy had won the Military Medal for bravery. C.A. Howse, his former Headmaster at Kingston Grammar School, wrote to the eighteen year old’s parents to congratulate them on their son’s achievement, noting that he was the first from the school to do so.
On 22 August 1918, Ralph was gassed while fighting in France, and was temporarily blinded in both eyes. A soldier in his regiment wrote to Moy’s parents to inform them of the news, which was quickly followed by reassuring note on 24th August from Ralph himself (ghost written by a friend). In this note, he sought to calm his parents’ nerves:
‘Don’t be worried because this is not in my handwriting as I was gassed on the 22/8/18 so I am blind for a day or 2. You will be very pleased to here [sic] that I am being sent to England and shall be leaving shortly. Love to all. Ralph’
Ralph was sent to Normanshurst Hospital, near the village of Catsfield in East Sussex, to recuperate. The photo below shows Ralph (back row, right of the VAD nurse) with his fellow wounded soldiers. He was not to see action in the war again, and he was discharged from the Army on 16 April 1919, after being declared no longer physically fit for war service.