David Molloy

DAVID MOLLOY (1886 - 1915)

Brewer's labourer and publican Edward Molloy lived with his wife Mary (nee Gallery) and their seven children at 42, Watercotes in Macclesfield. The 1891 Census tells us that their middle son David was born in 1886. By the age of fourteen, David was living with his family at 5, Lowe Street and working as a cotton weaver.

We do not know how David came to be in Dorchester but he attested there on 19 December 1914 and joined the 1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. The following day, David found himself beginning his service with the Regiment at Wyke Regis, near Weymouth in Dorset. Labourer David had already served for one year with the Cheshire Militia before they disbanded and had no problem in passing his initial medical assessment. His army medical record tells us that the, single, twenty eight year old was five feet seven inches tall and had a chest measurement of forty inches.

David landed in France with his Regiment on Thursday 18 February 1915. Two days later, David came to the attention of his Commanding Officer and was deprived three pays' pay for an offence involving his kit. It is possible David had destroyed or lost part of his kit since he was also charged to pay for the kit.

On 30 March 1915, David sustained a gunshot wound in the head, which resulted in him being transported to a hospital in Boulogne. Less than a week later, David was transferred to a convalescent camp where he remained until 20 April 1915. Having spent a further three days in No.12 General Hospital, located on the grounds of the racecourse in Rouen, with urticaria - an itchy red blotchy rash - David was finally discharged and returned to the base of No.5 Infantry Base Depot.

Before long, David was back in the trenches. He took part in the second part of The Battle of Hill 60, which began on 1 May 1915, near Ypres. More than three hundred men from David's Regiment suffered the effects of the second chlorine gas attack ever launched by the Germany army; one hundred and thirty of these men died as a result of the gas attack. An anonymous officer in the 1st Battalion described the attack in a Dorset newspaper:

"At about 7 pm I came out of my dugout and saw a hose sticking out over the German parapet, which was just starting to spout a thick yellow cloud with a tinge of green in it. The cloud came out with a hiss that you could hear quite plainly. The gas did not come directly towards us but went slantwise, then our trenches being so close to the gas went into part of the German trenches as well as ours. They bolted from theirs when they got a whiff of the filthy stuff. A few of our men staggered away down the hill, some got into a wood behind it and died there, as the ground was low and the gas followed them, others only got as far as the mine head and communication trenches.

...I was simply mad with rage, seeing strong men drop to the ground and die in this way. They were in agony. I had to argue with many of them as to whether they were dead or not. Why we got it so hot was because of the closeness of our trenches to the Germans, and this affair does away with the idea that it is not deadly. I saw two men staggering over a field in our rear last night, and when I went and looked for them this morning they were both dead. All together, I suppose, one hundred or two hundred men and two of three officers are dead or will die of the stuff.
Am absolutely sickened..."

David was one of those who were treated by No. 14 Field Ambulance for the effects of gas poisoning. Again he recovered and was back with his Battalion on 7 May 1915.

One hundred and ninety nine days after attesting, David was 'Killed in Action' on Monday 5 July 1915 at Ypres. He is buried with other soldiers from the 1st Dorsetshire Regiment at the Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery in Belgium.

On 15 October 1915, David's now widowed mother, Mary, took receipt of her son's personal effects. Four years later, on 30 June 1919, Mary was deceased so David's ID disc was sent, from Exeter, to his married sister Sarah Cassidy in Macclesfield.

Soldier from David's Battalion in a dug-out opposite Wyschaete © Capt. Partridge, OC 'D' Coy


If you would like to share any information you have about someone named on our memorial, please email Ann, ann.dalzell@yahoo.com

This website honours the WWI casualities of St Alban's Catholic Church, Chester Road, Macclesfield

StAlban's WWII war dead