As a schoolboy, Moore showed a talent for art but was encouraged by his family to train as a teacher, as they feared he would not make a great living at what they considered manual labour. Moore found little pleasure in teaching, however, and signed up to serve in the British Army during World War I. He was exposed to a gas attack by German forces at the Battle of Cambrai and was invalided from his service.
“If God were ‘Almighty’, the things I saw and experienced, the great bloodshed and the pain, the insufferable agony and depravity, the tears and the inhuman devilishness of the war, would, could never have been,” Moore penned to a friend between 1919 and 1920.
In 1919, thanks to an ex-serviceman's grant, Moore became a student at the Leeds School of Art. He went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London in 1921, where he later became a teacher and met Irina Radetsky, whom he married in 1929.