2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers, attached 2nd Battalion.

Killed in action on Wednesday 10th March 1915 at Neuve Chapelle, age 26.

Buried at Guards Cemetery, France.

Former student of Electrical Engineering.



John was born on 17th May 1888 at Watford to Thomas and Elizabeth Ann Moffet. His father was an Assistant Estate and Land Agent to the London and North Western Railway Company, which may have influenced John’s interests in later life. John was educated at Watford Grammar School (1896-1903) and the City and Guilds Technical College, Finsbury. He entered the Victoria University of Manchester in 1907 gaining a Bachelor of Science in 1909 with Engineering Honours (Class II) in 1910.

After university John took up employment as an Assistant Engineer at the Horwich Locomotive Works of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. In 1913 he moved to the Chloride Electrical Storage and Battery Company in Clifton, Salford. On the outbreak of war he was engaged in important electrical work on a submarine at Portland.

As an associate member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) John took an interest in and discussed at meetings the use of electric power on the Railways. He won the Premium Prize of the IEE for a paper on ‘The Possibilities of Electric Traction on Railways’ that he gave on 4th March 1914 at the Manchester Municipal School of Technology. He explained that the replacement of horses with electricity had been rapid for trams, but was not currently considered a serious rival to steam locomotives. Moffet believed savings in running costs could be made if electric was introduced because a smaller amount of fuel per unit of energy was needed, due to greater engine efficiency, and repair costs were anticipated to be lower. Moffet backed up his assertion using a wealth of statistical data and calculations, including some information from railway companies in America. Electrification would be costly, but offset by the increased capacity of the lines. Though not considered in his figures other factors would have an influence too, for example the trains and stations would need less cleaning, and compensation owing to setting fire to crops and buildings would be eliminated. However, until electrical engineers were able to come to an agreement on which system of electrification was most suitable to the country he concluded that progress towards electric traction would be slow.

John was a member of the University Officer Training Corps from 1908 to 1912 and earned Certificates “A” and “B” which qualified him for a commission. In august 1914 he was gazetted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers. Whilst in training at Greenock he was invited to be Vice-Chairman of the IEE. John left the UK for the western front on 26th January 1915. He was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on 10th March 1915 whilst advancing under heavy rifle fire. He had just given an order to his men to lie down when he was struck by a bullet through the left lung. He died a couple of minutes later. His commanding officer wrote to his father to say that John was “a most promising officer, keen and anxious to learn. He had a high sense of duty and had plenty of confidence in himself.”

John left £156 6s 3d to his father. His brother, Lieutenant Thomas Arthur Moffet served as a Railway Transport Officer with the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.

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