Obituary: Brigadier Peter Moore

Peter Neil Martin Moore, soldier, born 13 July 1911, married 1953 Rosemary Stokes (two sons, three daughters, and one son deceased), died 23 July 1992.

PETER MOORE was one of the bravest soldiers of his generation and one of the most modest. Those of us who knew him in later life had only the haziest knowlege of the hair-raising exploits in which he was involved as a younger man.

Peter Moore was educated at Clifton College, and commissioned in the Royal Engineers in 1931. His record of courage began in Waziristan on the North-West Frontier in 1936 where he was mentioned in dispatches. At the outbreak of the Second World War he was a captain and second- in-command of an Engineer Field Squadron with which he was sent to the Middle East at the start of the North African Desert campaign. His time in the desert started inauspiciously by being taken prisoner in one of Rommel's lightning raids to encircle some of the British forces.

On the same day that he was captured, he was awarded the Military Cross for his part in previous operations. Thanks to his own determination he only remained a prisoner for a few days before escaping and making his way back to the British lines at Tobruk. When a gaunt emaciated figure found its way into Tobruk, even his old school friend Lieutenant Morgan- Giles RN (later to become Rear- Admiral Sir Morgan Morgan- Giles) failed to recognise him.

But Moore was quickly back with his regiment as a major and it was on the night of 23 October 1942 that he won the first of his three awards of the Distinguished Service Order. At that time the task of his squadron was to help clear the minefields which were constantly under enemy machine- gun fire. Part of his citation reads:

Later the same night the Squadron reached a minefield on the crest of the Miteiriya Ridge, for the possession of which we were still fighting, Major Moore went ahead and reconnoitred the whole minefield although the far side was still in enemy hands. Throughout the mine-lifting operation the Engineers were under continuous and intense machine-gun fire for three hours. Major Moore walked up and down the whole time encouraging his men. The gap was successfully cleared.

Wounded and exhausted, he continued to lead his men in this vital task for a further six days.

In 1943 Moore was chosen to assist Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean's mission to Yugoslavia to help Marshal Tito's partisans in their fight against the German occupying power. He was parachuted into Yugoslavia by night where he trained and helped the partisans in what he later described as 'little bits of mischief' to disrupt the German forces. These 'bits of mischief' earned him the first bar to his DSO.

Soon after the war, Moore served with the 6th Airborne Division in Palestine as the Engineer Commander. A fellow officer recalls beings sent on a reconnaissance with Moore at a time when the British forces were under attack from Stern Gang terrorists. As they drove towards a small village they noticed suspicious bumps in the road. Moore insisted on examining and clearing what proved to be extremely dangerous mines himself rather than leaving the job to his following engineers.

In 1952 the Korean War broke out and Moore was given command of the Engineers supporting the Commonwealth Division. Here his courage was legendary. Always in the forefront of the fighting there seemed to be no task, however dangerous, which he would not undertake. Winning his second bar to the DSO, part of his citation reads:

Lieutenant-Colonel Moore's courage is a byword throughout the whole division. Never once has he committed a sapper to any task until he was personally satisfied that the task was reasonable and every possible step taken to ensure success. Wherever there has been danger, there has been Lieutenant-Colonel Moore.

This war over, Moore was promoted to command the Commonwealth Brigade in Singapore. As a commander his standards were immensely high but he was a man of very few words. His methods of command were not the same as some of his commanding officers and clashes of personality ensued. Moore was not supported by the Commander-in-Chief, who later became CIGS.

Moore returned to a desk job in Weapons Development in the War Office. It was not his metier and he found the Whitehall scene frustrating. It was a time when the Army was being greatly reduced in size and after a final appointment at the School of Land/Air Warfare, Moore retired as a Brigadier. Many felt he deserved much better.

But with characteristic determination, he sat the entrance exam for the administrative civil service from which he passed out top. He accepted an appointment in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries as Principal, working there from 1963 to 1976. Still having a young family to educate, he became a Research Officer at the College of Estate Management at Reading, turning his mind with great ability at the age of 70 to computer programming.

A more generous, kindly and hard-working man it would have been hard to find. He was blessed with a happy marriage and a large and loving family.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick