b. 22/10/1896 St Kilda, Australia. d. 03/11/1918 Mouvaux, France
George Raymond Dallas Moor (1896-1918) was born on 22nd October 1896, at his mother’s sister’s home in Pollington Street, St Kilda, Australia, the second son of William Henry Moor, a senior official in the Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) Civil Service, and Ella Helen Moor nee Pender.
Privately educated at Little Appleby, Ryde on the Isle of Wight, he then attended Cheltenham College from September 1910. His original application form, dated 12th November 1909, gave his intended occupation as the Egyptian Civil Service, which would follow the family tradition of colonial service. His father was now auditor general of the Transvaal and an uncle, Sir Ralph Moor, was a colonial official in Southern Nigeria.
With his father occupying a key post in Pretoria, Moor became a member of Cheltenham College’s Boyne House, where he was noted more for his sporting prowess than his scholarship. His education ended abruptly with the outbreak of war during the summer of 1914, a year of upheaval domestically as well as internationally. Moor’s mother had filed for a “judicial separation on the grounds of adultery” and had been granted custody of her three children. She paid for his education and his father seemed to show no interest in him.
On 18th September 1914, and still aged just 17, he enlisted at Barnstaple, Devon into the Public Schools Battalion, officially styled the 21st (Service) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers. His spell in the ranks lasted less than 40 days. On 27th October, five days after his 18th birthday, he was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment, his father’s old unit. As 2nd Lieutenant Moor, he joined the 2nd Hampshire Regiment as the unit was preparing to embark for the Dardanelles where he survived the initial landings only to be wounded on 28th April, during the advance from the Helles beachhead. For his services at Gallipoli, the young subaltern was given a commission in the Regular Army dated 1st August.
On 5th June 1915 south of Krithia, Gallipoli, Turkey, when a detachment of the battalion which had lost all its officers was rapidly retiring before a heavy Turkish attack, Second Lieutenant Moor, realising the danger to the rest of the line, dashed back some 200 yards, stemmed the retirement, led back the men and recaptured the lost trench. This brave act saved a dangerous situation.
Following his evacuation from the peninsula, Moor spent months at home in England recuperating. His health had taken a heavy toll form his experiences in the Dardanelles. The authories decided that Moor’s dysentery and jaundice was severe enough to extend his sick leave until 8th February 1916, when he joined the 3rd Hampshires at Gosport. It was not until the autumn that he was deemed fit enough for front line service. On 3rd October, he joined the 1st Hampshires in time for the closing actions of the Somme offensive. He remained with them until 23rd December 1917, when he was severely wounded in the arm and evacuated once more.
The following month a medical board ruled that it would be at least four months before he was fit enough for even category C duties. A spell of convalescence was recommended and it was on 26th January, while in Lady Ridley’s Hospital, that he received a message saying he was required as aide-de-camp to Brigadier Seely, then commanding the Canadian Cavalry Brigade in France. Such was the speed of his recovery, he was deemed fit for duty on 22nd February, but although still wanted by Seely he was, instead, given three weeks leave and told to await orders. In the event, his next posting was not to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade but to the staff of the 30th Division, where his former CO from Gallipoli, now Major General Williams was commanding.
In early 1918, Moor who had still not yet fully recovered the full use of his arm, was given the rank of acting general staff officer, grade three (GSO 3) and he quickly adapted to his new role.
During the pursuit of the Germans towards the River Scheldt in October 1918, he had two narrow escapes from death. Firstly, he had dismounted his horse with Philip Neame VC when a 5.9 howitzer shell landed within three feet of them, but by luck it was a dud. A few days later, he and Neame were walking down a lane with Brigadier General Lambarde when a German field gun battery bracketed us with two salvoes. Moor and Neame were forced to dive into a ditch.
Moor’s repeated acts of gallantry were recognised with the awards of the Military Cross and Bar which were gazetted in the space of ten weeks. The citation for the MC, published on 2nd December 1918, stated “For conspicuous gallantry and skill. He carried out a daylight reconnaissance all along the divisional front in face of heavy machine gun fire at close range, in many places well in front of our posts.”
Tragically, Moor did not live long enough to receive either award. During the closing days of the war, he fell victim to the influenza pandemic sweeping through Europe. His health fatally strained by sickness and wounds saw him succumb to influenza and pneumonia on 3rd November 1918, in No 3 Canadian Clearing Station, Mouveaux, France. He was just 22. He was buried in the Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France.
In 1961, his elder brother, Commander W. Sylvester Moor RN, a former champion lightweight boxer who had served throughout the Great War, wrote to the Hampshire Regiment to say he held his brother’s medals, and as he had no blood relations left, wanted to present it to the Regiment. The medals are now displayed in the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum, Winchester, Hampshire, as a tribute to a man described by Major General Williams as “a fine character and as fearless a soldier as ever lived.”
LOCATION OF MEDAL: HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT MUSEUM, WINCHESTER.
BURIAL PLACE: Y FARM MILITARY CEMETERY, BOIS-GRENIER, FRANCE.
George Moor's medals (the VC and MC with Bar) on display at the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum, Winchester, Hampshire. (August 2012).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
ROW C, GRAVE 86
National Memorial Arboretum, March 2015 (Picture - Thomas Stewart)
Hampshire Regiment Memorial
Braunton Church, Devon
War Illustrated, 18th September 1915
Stuart Baxter - August 2017
Courtesy of Lt Col Bulleid of Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum