Richard Valentine “Dick” Moore GC CBE (Direct Recipient)

b. 14/02/1916 Lambeth, London. d. 25/04/2003 Warrington, Cheshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 16-21/09/1940 Clacton, Essex.

Richard Valentine Moore (1916-2003) was born on Valentine’s Day, 1916 in Lambeth, London, the son of Randall Edgar and Ellen Mary Moore (nee Keny). Dick, as he became more commonly known, was educated at the Strand School and at London University, where he took a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he started work with the County of London Electricity Supply Company in 1936, a position he held until the outbreak of the Second World War.

Richard V “Dick” Moore GC CBE

He was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1939, and joined the Naval Unexploded Bomb Department from the cruiser “Effingham”, aboard which he had been serving as an assistant torpedo officer. The “Effingham” was later sunk off the Norwegian coast on 18th May 1940. Moore served with the mines counter measures section at the Admiralty until appointed Torpedo Officer of the “Dido” in the Mediterranean in 1942.

Between 16th and 21st September 1940, the Luftwaffe dropped 25 parachute mines over London, where they caused widespread damage. Moore, with Lieutenant Commander Richard Ryan, volunteered to render safe the 17 that did not explode. On 21st September Moore, Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth went to Dagenham, Essex to deal with several unexploded mines. Moore carefully examined one and found that the fuse ring had become distorted; resorting to the method practised by many disposal men of simply using whatever tool they could find, he borrowed a drill from the factory outside which the mine was lying. He drilled two holes on opposite sides of the ring so that it broke, enabling him to remove the fuse, aware that at any time it could explode. As he was in the process of removing the trigger, Ryan arrived having neutralised another mine. Ryan then went off to deal with the last of the mines with Ellingworth. This was hanging from a parachute in a warehouse 200 yards away. WIthout warning it went off, killing both Ryan and Ellingworth. All three men were awarded the GC. Dick Moore was presented with his GC at Buckingham Palace by King George VI on 17th June 1941. On 9th September 1944, he married Ruby Edith Fair, and they went on to have three sons.

On leaving the Navy in 1946, Moore worked for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, where he was appointed maintenance manager of the research reactor Bepo. Soon he was drawing on his pre-war experience to conduct a study on whether a larger reactor could produce heat at cheaper prices. In 1952, Dick moved to Risley to take charge of design and construction of the first of four reactors at Calder Hall, opened by the Queen in 1956. A further four were built at Chapelcross. A national nuclear power programme was authorised and eventually five industrial consortia were formed and between them they built 10 Magnox stations (20 reactors) all based on the Calder Hall design.

Dick then worked on an improved design for reactors, and in 1962, he completed the Windscale Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor (WAGR). This design was adopted for the national programme and built 6 stations (12 reactors). He was later involved in the development of the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) at Dounreay and the Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR) at Winfrith. In 1963, for his work with nuclear reactors, he was awarded the CBE. By the time of the award he was Managing Director of the Reactor Group of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

In retirement, Dick moved to the North West and settled in Cheshire. Dick died on 25th April 2003 in Warrington, and was cremated at the Walton Lea Crematorium. There is sadly no commemoration for him there. His medals including his GC, CBE, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal and 2002 QEII Golden Jubilee Medal are now displayed in the Docklands Museum, London.







Docklands Museum – Images of the Moore GC Medal Group.