Last April, at a time when it was most needed, Captain Sir Tom Moore captivated the heart of the nation through his display of stoic patriotism. We remember him here.
As the nation knows, three weeks before Moore’s 100th birthday, he decided to walk 100 laps around the garden of his daughters Bedfordshire home, hoping to raise £1,000 for NHS charities.
It was from this fundraiser from which Captain Sir Tom Moore became known to the nation. As he quickly passed his fundraising initial goal, the media picked up on the story and the moving display of determination and service was broadcast to the nation.
By April 16th, he had raised a £3 million, which in the two weeks up to his 100th birthday increased to nearly £40 million, including tax rebates, making this one of the most successful individual fundraisers.
His birthday was marked as a national spectacle, including fly-pasts by the RAF and the British Army, referencing his past as a British Army Officer during the Ssecond World War.
Moore was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, on 30 April 1920 into a middle-class household. A decade later he would grow up during the Great Depression, which hit Yorkshire towns exceptionally hard. He was bright as a young boy, with a preference for practical work, which directed him to pursue an apprenticeship in engineering and would go on to shape his time during the Second World War.
Moore was conscripted in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in May of 1940, just eight months after the start of the war. A year later, he was transferred to then-British India and tasked with setting up a training facility for Army motorcyclists. Moore had a passion for motorcycles and raced competitively for many years from a young age.
He temporarily served as Captain and was later assigned to posts in Burma and Sumatra. Often referred to as the ‘forgotten army’, the force in south East Asia faced low morale, a uniquely difficult jungle terrain and a monsoon season. Nonetheless, he successfully trained dispatch riders who were the best at getting information to the font line.
Captain Tom Moore remained in the Army for another 15 years until he left in 1960, becoming a salesman for a roofing materials company in Yorkshire before officially retiring in 1995.
In 2018, Moore suffered a fall in his kitchen. The care he received from the NHS, including treatment for skin cancer, was instrumental in shaping his admiration for it, which inspired his historic fundraiser.
Captain Sir Tom Moore will be remembered by the nation as not only a war hero, but as a display of the patriotism and kindness that makes the UK great.