John Curtis Moakes


John’s parents were Joseph and Mary Ellen Moakes. Joseph was baptised on 13 August 1832 at Holy Trinity church, Kingston upon Hull. His first marriage was to Mary Ann Beck at the same church on 28 November 1857. In 1861 they were living at 3 Willow Place, Stepney. The census records that Joseph was a coal merchant and that Mary Ann was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. They had a daughter, Kate Kiero Moakes, aged 2. Presumably Mary Ann died because by 1881 Joseph was married to his second wife, Mary Ellen. They lived at 61 Downs Park Rd, West Hackney, and Joseph, now 48, was a ship broker. He and Mary Ellen had a servant. Mary Ellen was born in Kirton, Ipswich, about 1853. Joseph remained a ship broker until 1901 and died between 1901 and 1911. Mary Ellen died between 1891 and 1901. They had 7 children, Albert, born about 1882, Alice Nina, born about 1883, Ellen Mary, born about 1884, Constance Martha, born about 1886, John Curtis, Gertrude, born about 1889, and James Kiero, born about 1891. They were all born in Hackney. In 1901 Joseph and 6 children lived at Kildare, Palace Gates Rd, Wood Green. Albert was a builder’s clerk and Ellen a draper’s assistant.

By 1911 both John’s parents had died and he was recorded on the census as head of the household at 7 Cromer Avenue, Withington. Living with him were Alice, Ellen, now a teacher of domestic economy, Constance and Gertrude, both elementary school teachers, and his future wife, at that time a student aged 22.


John Curtis Moakes was born in Hackney in 1887. He was employed as an apprentice and draughtsman by Hans Renold, Chain Manufacturers, of Didsbury and 3 Brook St, Manchester. He registered at the Manchester Municipal College of Technology in 1908–09.

On 23 December 1912 he married Marjorie Mary Dearden at St Paul’s church, Withington. Marjorie was 24 and the daughter of Vernon Kitchen Dearden and his wife, Sarah. Marjorie’s address was Princess Christian College, Withington. Vernon was born in Denton around 1841. In 1861 he lived with an uncle in Denton and in 1871 he lived with his uncle in Wybunbury, Cheshire. In 1881 he and Sarah lived at Holly Bank, Burlington Rd, Withington, and he was a medical student. In 1891 he was a general medical practitioner and they lived at 1 Palatine Rd, Withington, with 3 children, a cook, a housemaid and a page boy. They were at the same address in 1901. Marjorie was their third child, born about 1888.

The 1911 census describes John as a mechanical engineer and a transmission gears expert for a driving chain manufacturer. In 1914 John passed the associate membership examination of the Institute of Civil Engineers.

John and Marjorie had 3 children. The first, Marjorie, was born in March 1914, and later married Reginald Lloyd. John Kitchen Moakes was born on 27 September 1915 and died in 2003. The third child, a boy, was born on 27 September 1916, just 22 days after John died.

Marjorie died at Hutton, Shinfield Green, Reading, on 17 January 1980, leaving £10191.


According to the Manchester Guardian, prior to the outbreak of war John completed 4 years service with the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Imperial Yeomanry. This is probably inaccurate as the Imperial Yeomanry was used in the Boer War from 1900 to 1902 and the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry was not formed until 1914. It seems likely that he served with a territorial force. Shortly after war was declared he enlisted with a number of colleagues in the 12th Battalion, Rifle Brigade. He was later selected for service with the motor machine gun section and was promoted to serjeant. He spent some time in France and on 31 March 1915 he became a second lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers. After training in England he returned to France where he trained young officers at divisional headquarters.

He was killed in action on 5 September 1916 on the Somme. He was a lieutenant in the 155th Field Company of the Royal Engineers. His obituary stated that his “future was full of exceptional promise, as he had a strong and attractive personality and was a brilliant officer and a clever engineer.”

He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 8A and 8D and on the Manchester Municipal College of Technology Memorial in the Sackville Building, University of Manchester.