Remembering Captain Sir Tom Moore
Today we’re celebrating the extraordinary life of Captain Sir Tom Moore who sadly passed away on the 2nd February 2021 at the age of 100.
Her Majesty The Queen has sent a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore and is said to have very much enjoyed meeting him and his family at Windsor last year. The Palace has said that ‘Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them.’
When Captain Tom Moore embarked on a personal challenge to complete 100 laps of the garden in his Bedfordshire home before his 100th birthday, he was hoping he might garner enough local support to raise a modest £1,000 for the NHS. What happened next, his daughter Hannah recalls, was “unimaginable”.
Clutching his walking frame for support and proudly wearing his WWII medals, the war veteran’s steely determination to keep lapping his garden, come rain or shine, quickly captured the hearts of wellwishers worldwide.
Donations, tributes and national news interviews poured in. By the time his 100th birthday (marked with a Spitfire flyover and more than 120,000 cards from fans around the globe) came around, Captain Moore’s status as a national hero was cemented.
To commemorate the life of Captain Sir Tom Moore, here are just a few of his amazing achievements…
- Captain Sir Tom was born on 30 April 1920 in Keighley. His father, Wilson, came from a family of builders; his mother, Isabella, taught children at a local school.
- His real passion was motorbikes. At the age of 12, Captain Sir Tom discovered one lying in a barn and bought it for half a crown. He proudly took it home, and lovingly did it up.
- Conscripted into the British army in June 1940, Captain Sir Tom joined the Duke of Wellington’s regiment, an infantry battalion involved in the Burma Campaign from 1942 to 1945.
- Selected for officer training, he became a second lieutenant on his 21st birthday, and – now part of the 146th Royal Armoured Corps – found himself posted to India.
- With his knowledge of motorbikes, Captain Sir Tom was asked to train dispatch riders. Radio transmissions could be intercepted, so this was the best means of getting information to and from the front line.
- Moore left military service in 1960, and took a job as a sales manager for a roofing company in his native Yorkshire.
- As Captain Sir Tom turned to complete his final lap, the fundraising total stood at more than £12m. It would eventually surpass £32m. An honour guard from his old regiment saluted an extraordinary achievement.
- His cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, a duet with Michael Ball, raised even more – hitting the top of the charts in time for Captain Sir Tom’s 100th birthday and making him the oldest person ever to score a number one single in the UK.
- In July 2020, Captain Tom Moore became Captain Sir Tom Moore after receiving a knighthood from the Queen in her first official engagement since lockdown. Queen Elizabeth used the sword that belonged to her father, George VI, to present Captain Sir Tom with the insignia of Knight Bachelor.
You can learn more about the extraordinary life of Captain Sir Tom Moore in issue 48 of Royal Life magazine.