Britain's Captain Sir Thomas Moore, known better as Tom Moore, the World War 2 veteran who gained worldwide recognition when he helped raise millions of pounds for health service workers battling the raging coronavirus since last year, died on Tuesday at the age of 100. Moore had contracted COVID-19 just two day ago.
Moore came to the attention of the larger public in April last year before his 100th birthday when he decided to support the efforts of the National Health Service by walking around his garden with the help of a frame and eventually helped raise 38.9 million pounds ($53 million).
Born on April 30, 1920 in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire, Moore grew up in a family of builders and after finishing schooling, started an apprenticeship in civil engineering. In May of 1940, eight months after World War 2 started, Moore was enlisted in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment(8 DWR). He got picked up for officer training that year and post that was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1941.
After the 8 DWR became an armoured unit known as the 145th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps, Moore became a member of the Royal Armoured Corps. Moore had a passion for motorcycles and had bought his first one at age 12 and often raced bikes for competition, which helped him when he eventually was transferred to the 9th Battalion (9 DWR) in India, where he set up and ran a training programme for army motorcyclists. Riding a Scott bike, Moore had won several trophies in bike racing. He was posted in Mumbai(then Bombay) and later served in Kolkata (then Calcutta).
Moore had also served in Arakan in Western Myanmar (then Burma) where he contradicted dengue fever. Coming back to the UK in 1945, he started a training course on the inner workings of the Churchill tanks and became a trainer. Moore choose not to return to the regiment, but stayed on as an instructor and Technical Adjutant of the Armoured Vehicle Fighting School in Bovington Camp of Dorset till 1946.
After retiring from the army, Captain Moore worked as a sales manager at a roofing materials company in Yorkshire and went on to work at a concrete manufacturing company too. Moore was a member of the Keighley and District Photographic Association between 1934 and 1936.
Moore had originally hoped to raise 1,000 pounds. But as his efforts went viral, Moore's initiative managed to raise some 33 million pounds for the National Health Service, broke two Guinness world records. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, scored a No. 1 single, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore," his daughters said in a statement after his death on Tuesday morning at Bedford Hospital in central England.
Although Britain has been vaccinating all its elderly population against Covid-19, Sky News had earlier quoted a family representative as saying Moore had not yet received a shot because he was being treated for pneumonia.
Moore had also collaborated with singer Michael Ball on a charity cover of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.
Messages and heartfelt tributes poured in for the war veteran as soon as the news of his passing away broke. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other public figures posted tribute messages to Sir Moore. The official Twitter handle of The Royal Family has posted that the Queen will be sending a personal message of condolence for Sir Moore to his family.
The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore. Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year. Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them. pic.twitter.com/nl1krvoUlW— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) February 2, 2021
#RIP to the great Captain Tom Moore. He led by example, showing up for others when they needed him most. He lived an incredible life and will be so missed. pic.twitter.com/cQQAmSRyGn— Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) February 3, 2021
An incredible beacon of resilience and hope for the nation, you will be deeply missed Ol Tom, I hope your charity continues onwards wherever you are. RIP.— DocQ (@DocQ48842770) February 3, 2021
"Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day," Moore had said in an interview during his walk, uttering the words that became his trademark.
When Captain Tom finished his 100th lap on April 16, a military honor guard had lined the path. The celebration continued on his 100th birthday a few days later, when two World War II-era fighter planes flew overhead in tribute.