An Inspirational Role Model
Captain Sir Tom Moore barely needs any introduction. Thomas Moore (born 30 April 1920), popularly known as Captain Tom, is a former British Army officer known for his efforts to raise money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Moore served in India and the Burma campaign during the Second World War. He later became an instructor in armoured warfare. After the war, he worked his way up to managing director of a concrete company, and also was an avid motorcycle racer.
On 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, he began to walk around his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of raising £1,000 by his hundredth birthday. By the time of writing he had raised in excess of £30m. In doing so, he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the United Kingdom generating much interest in his life story and earned a number of accolades. Soon after the walk, he featured in a cover version of the song "You'll Never Walk Alone", with proceeds going to the same charity. The single topped the UK music charts and made him the oldest person to ever achieve a UK number one.
Captain Tom said: “When we started off with this exercise, we didn't anticipate we'd get anything near that sort of money. It's really amazing. All of them, from top to bottom, in the National Health Service, they deserve everything that we can possibly put in their place. They're all so brave. Because every morning or every night they're putting themselves into harm's way, and I think you've got to give them full marks for that effort. We're a little bit like having a war at the moment. But the doctors and the nurses, they're all on the front line, and all of us behind, we've got to supply them and keep them going with everything that they need, so that they can do their jobs even better than they're doing now.”
On his 100th birthday, he received 1000s of cards from well-wishers all over the world, and greetings from the Queen and Prime Minister. The occasion was marked with an RAF flypast, and he was made an honorary colonel. Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said, “he is an inspirational role model” while Brigadier Andrew Jackson, colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, described Moore as: “an absolute legend [from] an exceptional generation that are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today”.
Moore enlisted in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment (8 DWR) at the beginning of the Second World War, stationed in Cornwall. He was selected for officer training in 1940, and attended Officer Cadet Training before being commissioned as a second lieutenant on 28 June 1941. On 22 October 1941, Moore became a member of the Royal Armoured Corps. This was because his battalion, the 8 DWR, became an armoured unit designated as the 145th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. Later, he was transferred to the 9th Battalion (9 DWR) in India, which had also been redesignated as the 146th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. He was initially posted to Bombay (now Mumbai) and subsequently to Calcutta (now Kolkata). His regiment were equipped with M3 Lee tanks and participated in the Battle of Ramree Island. He was promoted to war-lieutenant on 1 October 1942 and to temporary captain on 11 October 1944. He served in Arakan in western Myanmar (known at the time as Burma) and afterward in Sumatra after the Japanese surrender, by which time he had risen to the rank of captain. On his return to Britain, he served as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington, Dorset.