Tag Archives: Malta

W Epps, PNR

A few weeks ago a set of medals was posted on a Facebook groups page.  The ribbons looked a little unloved, as though they had seen better days and a little on the sad side.  I contacted the person who had posted the photographs, asking would they mind if I blogged about the medals.  The reply came back…………….Yes, I could.   There has been a week or two gap since the positive message, but here goes!

The back of one of the medals bares the information  –   11658, PNR. W. EPPS. R.E.

As search of Soldiers who Died in the Great War with that service number came up with nothing.  The same with the Medal Cards and a few other sources.  A different route was needed.

wickhamTrying again, with renewed vigor, I looked at the Medal Cards, as I knew there was one as we had pictures of the medals to prove it.  This time I entered EPPS and Royal Engineers, and there he was – EPPS, William, Pnr., 116158 and his list of medals.  What I now knew was that he also served as Pte., 292069, in the Labour Corps., and had entered France on 28th August 1915.  But, what is more important is that we know he is called William.

Why is it that you can find Service Records for every one else, but not the ones who you are related to…………….it is some kind of law but whose, Sods or Murphy’s?  More information about William from his Service Records –  William was living at The Square, Wickham, Hampshire.  Leaving his military records for a while and back to Civil Records.

HMS Vulcan

HMS Vulcan

In 1911, William was 38 years old and had been married to Eliza Jane for five years and they had two children, George Thomas, 2 and Dorothy Alice aged eight months.  William had bee born in Portsmouth and earned his wage as a bricklayers labourer.  Ten years earlier in 1901 there is an entry for William Epps as a Royal Marine, as a crew member on the ‘Vulcan’ in the Grand Harbour Malta.  His place of birth varies slightly, so not completely sure this is our man.

Back to his service records – His Short Service Attestation is a Duplicate and the service number 116158 has been struck through and over written with 292069.  His Regiments also have multiple entries, starting on the line with Royal Engineers, written above is Labour Corps and then atop them all Pioneer Corps.  His address, we know as The Square.  He is a British Subject aged 43 and is married – this we know from the 1911 census.  He has also given previous service – this could have been him in the 1901 as there are the initials RMLI – cold this this be Royal Marine Light Infantry as seen in the census? He is also willing to serve for the duration of the war and he signed these papers at Whitehall London on 19th August 1915.

The next page. brings William more alive, as he is 5′ 8″ tall, with a fully expanded chest of 36″ and a 2″ range of expansion.  His wife Eliza Jane also added information to his records – that they were married on 14 of July 1906 at the Register Office, Portsmouth.  Her maiden name is not all that clear, therefore, a quick look at FreeBMD tells her maiden name was Hatton and she was a spinster at the time of their marriage.  Eliza also gave information on their children:  George Thomas was born on 2nd January 1909 and Dorothy Alice followed on the 9th of July 1910, with both children being born in Fareham.

William embarked for France, as a Private on 28th August 1915 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.  He was transferred to the Labour Corps on 31st of July 1917.

Epps, William, medals 2

Epps, William, medals 2

Epps, William, medals 1

Epps, William, medals 1

Also among his service records is the Discharge Documents.  It is so nice to write about a soldier that does not have a grave in a foreign land, a man who came home to his family, friends and neighbours.  After enlisting on 15th August 1915, William was Demobilised on the 15th of March 1919 in Nottingham.  In among the service records is a small slip of paper, the slip of paper is signed y William as a receipt for his British and Victory Medals.  There is also a receipt for another medal, as he only had three, this must be for the 1915 Star. which he duly signed for on 28th (?) October 1920 and he gives his details as 202069, 5th Labor Batt. R.E.

William, in February 1919, was issued a sheet of paper – his ‘Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity (Soldier not remaining with the Colours’ which he would have had to carry with him.  it gives his regimental details, year of birth and where he would rejoin in case of an emergency, plus his occupation and address, and that was issued at Shorncliffe on 16th February 1919.

Further into the collection of his records is his original Attestation Paper.

There is a death entry for a William Epps aged 51 in the summer of 1925, which fits in with his birth being around 1874.


Jay Hewitt for allowing me to use the photographs


Wikipedia – HMS Vulcan

Royal Engineers Museum – click here 

Royal Pioneer Corps Museum – click here 

Find my Past


Andrew Moynihan, Wakefield’s V.C.

If you mention the name Andrew Moynihan to anyone, do you think they will know of him?  Was he a criminal? Was he a business man?  What is his connection to Wakefield? Well, who was he?

As Ancestry have included a database of Victoria Cross Recipients on their vast website – wonderful I thought as it could help me with additional information when transcribing war memorials for my website.  So, to see who is there – a search with no criteria completed except the place, Wakefield.  To my surprise only one entry, Andrew Moynihan – lets go looking for him.  From his Ancestry entry I know he was born in Wakefield, in Saw Yard to be exact, in January of 1830 but could not find a baptism for him,  He could possibly have been a Catholic so would more than likely still be held by the church, not to worry. A search of FamilySearch soon came up with the goods – 14 March 1830 in St Austins Catholic Church, Wakefield with parents Malechy Monaghen and Ann. So on to the census of 1851 with his name, year of birth +/- 5 and his town of birth, Wakefield – again no joy.  Various search information was included and excluded, ending up with Andrew and Wakefield but still no entry for him.

One not to be beaten I googled him and came up with a site for Manchester people which did shed a little bit of light on him – the family moved to Dunkinfield when Andrew was a young child.  My search now went to the other side of the Pennines.  His early life seems to be a little mysterious but some sources say he worked in a couple of local mills and worshipped at a local Methodist Church.

At 17 years old he enlisted in the 90th Regiment of Perthshire Volunteers, who at the time were stationed in Ashton.  Aged 23, on the 31 December 1853, and with his name now being spelt Moyniham,  he married Ellen Parkin in Ashton Parish Church. With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, Andrew and many others were sent to fight the Russians.  The following year he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

His citation in the London Gazette for 24th February 1857 states : Ensign Andrew Moynihan (note change of spelling), 8th Regiment, late of the 90th Regiment.  When Serjeant, 90th Light Infantry, at the assault of the Redan, 8th September 1855, he personally encountered and killed five Russians.  Rescued from near the Redan a wounded officer, under heavy fire.

The initial attack on the Redan Fortress at Sebastapol failed but Andrew’s actions made further attacks possible. Despite heavy Russian fire and being driven back numerous times Andrew re-entered a building to  rescue an officer but was wounded and taken prisoner.  The British were repeatedly pushed back to their trenches but further attacks enabled him to escape and save a wounded soldier despite his own injuries – Various reports say that he had 12 wounds by the end of the day.

A hero’s welcome greeted him on his return home to Dunkinfield and various presentations were made to him but in 1857 he received from Queen Victoria his Victoria Cross.

Andrew later served in Ireland, the Indian Mutiny, Gibraltar and Malta and it was in Malta in 1867 that he died of Typhoid Fever at his home in Floriana, and rests in La Braxia Cemetery (Section S, Grave 182).  He is also mentioned in memorium on the headstone of his daughter, Ada, in Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds.

Although, Andrew did not stay in Wakefield for very long at least we can say he was born within our city boundary.

Footnote – Wikipedia has an entry for Berkeley George Andrew Moynihan, who is listed as the son of Andrew.  He moved with his mother to Leeds, where he was educated and later educated at the Blue Coat School,  London and later at the Royal Naval School.  He returned to Leeds to study medicine and joined the Leeds General Infirmary as a house surgeon, reaching the height of consulting surgeon in 1927.  During WW1 he was on the Army Advisory Board and by the end of the war held the rank of major general.  He also served as President of the Royal College of Surgeons.  He was knighted in 1912 and created Baronet of Carr Manor in 1922.  In 1929 he wa raised to the peerage as Baron Moynihan of Leeds.

Sources :-


Civilian and Military heroes of Manchester



La Braxia Cemetery

Blue Plaque tribute to Andrew Moynihan