On the night of 16th September 1940, near the beginning of the London Blitz, Nazi forces began to drop naval mines for the first time over London. Many failed to explode and created an imminent threat to the safety of Londoners. Richard V Moore was one of the naval staff who volunteered to make these mines safe. Between 17th and 21st September, Moore, along with Lieutenant-Commander Dick Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth, travelled across London, Essex and Kent defusing these unexploded mines to make them safe.
On 21st September, Moore, Ryan and Ellingworth were called to Dagenham to defuse three German mines. While Moore tackled a mine outside a factory, Ryan and Ellingworth headed to neutralise a mine hanging from a roof in North Oval Road. Tragically, the mine exploded, killing both men. All three men were awarded the George Cross, Ryan and Ellingworth posthumously, for “great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty”.
Now the Museum of London Docklands has acquired the George Cross medal awarded to Richard V Moore. It is on show to the public as part of a display in the Docklands at War gallery that recognises the heroic and little-known role Moore’s team played during the Blitz. This is an interactive display with a graphic novel and 3D puzzle which aim to make it easier for children to relate to the exhibition.
Vyki Sparkes, Curator of Social and Working History at the museum, said: “The efforts of Moore and his team saved countless lives and homes and allowed factories and airfields to continue their vital war work.”
The museum has thanked the Moore family for their generosity in donating this prestigious award to the museum.
•The Museum of London Dockland in West India Quay is open daily, 10am-6pm, and admission is free. For more information, go to: www.museumoflondon.org.uk