Hubert Albian MOXHAM


MOXHAM, Hubert Albian

Service Number: 3834
Enlisted: 21 August 1915, Blackboy Hill, WA
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 52nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Herberton, Qld., 18 December 1885
Home Town: Boulder, Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Western Australia
Schooling: Coorparoo State School
Occupation: Miner
Died: Killed in Action, France, 4 September 1916, aged 30 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
IV G 50
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Boulder Roll of Honour, Coorparoo State School Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

21 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3834, 12th Infantry Battalion, Blackboy Hill, WA
17 Dec 1915: Involvement Private, SN 3834, 12th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
17 Dec 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3834, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ajana, Fremantle
4 Sep 1916: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN 3834, 52nd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières


Hubert Albian MOXHAM #3834 52nd Infantry Battalion

Hubert Moxham was born in 1886 in the North Queensland tin mining town of Herberton but his family had moved to the Coorparoo district in time for young Hubert to attend Coorparoo State School in 1893.

The new frontier for gold mining in the first decade of the 20th century was Western Australia and particularly the mines around the towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder. On 26th August 1915, Hubert presented himself for enlistment at Blackboy Hill (the army camp on the outskirts of Perth), and stated he was a 28 year old miner from Fimiston, WA. Today, Fimiston is a suburb of Kalgoorlie and the site of the huge open cut mine called the super pit. Hubert also advised that he was married to Emily Moxham but they had no children. Once in the army, Hubert who was called “Moxy” by his fellow soldiers was allocated as part of the 12th reinforcements of the 12th Battalion. The reinforcements boarded a transport in Fremantle on 17th December and sailed for Egypt.

In December of 1915, the Anzac forces on Gallipoli were withdrawn to Egypt where planning was already underway to expand the size of the AIF by splitting existing battalions to provide a core of experienced soldiers which would be supplemented by fresh reinforcements arriving in Egypt. The 12th Battalion was divided to create a new battalion, the 52nd Battalion which like the 12th would comprise mainly men from Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. Hubert Moxham was reallocated to the 52nd Battalion at Tel el Kabir on 3rd March 1916.

The 52nd, part of the 13th brigade of the 4th Australian Division began training in Egypt in preparation for deployment to the Western Front. On 12th June 1916, the 52nd Battalion landed in Marseilles and then travelled by train to northern France for acclimatisation and their first introduction to trench warfare.

After the less than successful of the British summer offensive on the Somme in July 1916, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian divisions were ordered to the assembly areas around the town of Albert in preparation for going into the line at Pozieres. The capture of Pozieres and the trenchlines and fortifications on the ridge above the village was mainly achieved by the 1st and 2nd divisions in July and early August but the gains were of limited strategic value. Units of the 4th Division were also deployed but the 52nd Battalion remained in reserve.

Attention shifted from Pozieres less than two kilometres along the ridge line to a heavily fortified position at Mouquet Farm. The farm buildings, like the entire village of Pozieres , had been reduced to rubble but the extensive cellars had been extended and fortified to create a formidable obstacle. The 52nd Battalion was occupying the support trenches in front of Mouquet Farm during a heavy artillery bombardment on 14th August. A citation for an award for valour contained in Hubert’s file in the Australian War Memorial records that Hubert was among a group of men carrying water and rations up to the front line when an enemy shell landed in a communication trench. Three men were killed and the corporal in charge of the party was severely wounded. It was considered too dangerous to try to carry Corporal Allen out while the artillery persisted so Hubert volunteered to remain with Corporal Allen. Hubert used sandbags to create some protection in the exposed position. After remaining there for several hours, Hubert carried the wounded corporal to safety. His company commander recommended Hubert for a bravery award and he may well have received the Military Medal if he had survived.

On 18th August, Hubert was promoted to Lance Corporal and at a battalion parade on 23rd August, the Divisional Commander General Cox presented officers and men with congratulatory cards for “splendid work” during their time in the support lines; Hubert Moxham was one of those recognised.

On 2nd September, with Mouquet Farm still in enemy hands, the 13th brigade moved up to the jumping off trenches for an attack timed to commence in the early hours of the 4th September. The German had been shelling the British positions and communications almost constantly for over a month. The ground was so churned up from the shelling that trench lines were in some cases nothing more than a slight depression. Any attempt to dig deeper resulted in the walls caving in. In addition the approaches to the Farm were on an ever narrowing front with machine gun fire enfilading from three sides. As the men of the 52nd rose up to attack the German redoubt, Hubert Moxham was reported to have been killed.

Red Cross reports from witnesses stated that he may have received a gunshot wound to the head but no one could state what had happened to his body. When the battalion was withdrawn for a roll call, the 52nd had sustained a casualty rate of over 50% of killed, wounded and missing. In total the 4th Division sustained 11,000 casualties and Mouquet Farm remained in German hands.

Hubert Moxham was listed as Missing in Action and his wife back in Kalgoorlie was informed via telegram. A court of Inquiry conducted some 8 months later determined that since Hubert did not appear on any wounded or POW lists, he had therefore been killed in action on 4th September 1916.

At the end of the war, Emily Moxham remarried. The authorities were able to send her Hubert’s medals but she was not able to be contacted when his remains were located by a War Graves search team in 1925. Hubert’s remains were reinterred in the Pozieres British Cemetery. His headstone simply relates his name, number and unit.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Hubert Albion MOXHAM and Theresa Boyle nee CARROLL

Husband of Mrs E Moxham, Golden Gate Railway Station, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia