Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (The 2/4th Battalion)

Research and Resources around the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during WWI

(Sir) Captain Walter Hamilton Moberly

From G. K. Rose, The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

June 1916
“The Battalion was not slow in playing its part. One of the early casualties was Lieutenant Moberly, who performed a daring daylight reconnaissance up to the German wire. He was wounded and with great difficulty and only through remarkable pluck regained our lines.”

29th April 1918
“At night another minor operation preceded the relief. Orders were given for B Company which held the right of the Battalion’s line, to seize the much-disputed Cepy Farm and hand it over to the incoming Berks. Moberly, who had recently rejoined his old Battalion, was in command of this enterprise. The farm was reached and duly occupied, but when the time for handing over to the Berks arrived our post was driven out by a strong party of the enemy.”

August 1917
“John Stockton led B Company, and under him was Moberly.”

22nd / 23rd August 1917
Ground to which the advance had been carried with cost would not be lightly given up. Moberly, Company Sergeant-Major Cairns, and Guest–the latter by volunteering in daylight to run the gauntlet of the German snipers back to Headquarters–greatly distinguished themselves in the task of maintaining this exposed position during the night of August 22and throughout August 23.”

“Equally gallant was the fine stand made by the Oxfords on August 22 and 23, 1917, in front of Ypres. Captain Moberly and his brave comrades, surrounded by the enemy and completely isolated, stuck doggedly for 48 hours to the trench which
marked the furthest point of the Brigade’s objective.”

20th November 1917
“Cuthbert had devised a scheme, which Colonel Wetherall adopted and chose B Company, under Moberly, to carry out.”

“Wallington, the officer in command of the storming party, killed several Germans. As often, there was difficulty in finding the way back to our lines; in fact, Moberly, the commander of the raid, after some wandering in No-Man’s-Land, entered the trenches of a Scotch division upon our right. His appearance and comparative inability to speak their language made him a suspicious visitor to our kilted neighbours. Moberly rejoined his countrymen under escort.”

22nd March 1918.
“The Offoy garrison was despatched under Moberly, who was commanding the details of the I84th Brigade, including a hundred Oxfords. Moberly’s force comprised many administrative personnel. ‘What your men lack in numbers they must make up in
courage,’ was the Major-General’s encouragement.”

23rd March 1918
As always on these occasions, when officers of different services were thrown together, divided counsels were the result. Moberly, an officer who could have been relied upon to make the best of the situation, was wounded in the leg during a moonlight reconnaissance with Davenport.”

In 1914 Walter Hamilton Moberly wrote a book, Christian Conduct in War Time (1914). The book is freely available as a download from www.archive.org. I would love to know how Moberly’s views changed over the course of the war.

Biography of Sir Walter Hamilton Moberly

Sir Walter Hamilton Moberly, GBE, KCB, Kt, DSO (20 October 1881 – 31 January 1974) was a British academic.

The son of Rev. Robert Campbell Moberly, Moberly was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford. He was later a lecturer in political science at the University of Aberdeen from 1905-06 and served in World War I with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, being twice mentioned in despatches.

After the war, he was professor of philosophy at the University of Birmingham from 1921-24, Principal of the University College of the South West of England from 1925-26, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester from 1926-34, Chairman of the University Grants Committee from 1935-49 and Principal of St Catherine’s Foundation from 1949-55.

Moberly was also an author, having written such books as The Crisis in the University (1949) and The Ethics of Punishment.

Winchester College’s main library is named after him.

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