Richard Valentine Moore, GC, CBE (14 February 1916 – 25 April 2003), known as Dick Moore, was an officer of Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who was awarded the George Cross for the "great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty" he showed in rendering mines safe during the Blitz of 1940 despite having "no practical training'"
Moore was born in London in 1916 and educated at the Strand School and at University of London, where he obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for the County of London Electricity Supply Company from 1936 until war was declared in September 1939.
Commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1939, he joined the Naval Unexploded Bomb Department from HMS Effingham, serving as an assistant torpedo officer.
German forces began to drop naval mines and bombs over London in September 1940 but many failed to explode, posing a stark threat to civilians.
Richard Valentine Moore, who was born on Valentine’s Day in 1916, was one of the naval staff who volunteered to make these unexploded bombs and mines safe – even though he had only received basic training. Alongside Lieutenant-Commander Dick Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth, he travelled across London, Essex and Kent, defusing unexploded missiles.
On September 21, 1940, Richard, Ryan and Ellingworth were called to Dagenham to defuse three German mines.
While Richard set to work on a mine outside a factory, his colleagues decided to tackle a mine further ahead. Tragically, their mine exploded, killing them both.
All three men were awarded the George Cross – Lieutenant-Commander Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Ellingworth posthumously – for “great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty”.
Richard was among the first recipients of the George Cross, an honour which ranks second only to the Victoria Cross.