The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A R Moore
Arthur Robert Moore was born in Reading on 15th October 1919. He went to Reading School and turned down going to university in favour of joining the RAFVR.
He commenced training on 3rd June 1939 at 8 Elementary & Reserve FTS Woodley near Reading on the Miles Magister and went solo on 2nd July.
Above: in training, 4th from left.
Further training on the Tiger Moth was carried out at 7 E&RFTS Desford starting in November. Leaving there with an 'Above Average' rating Moore went on to 10 SFTS Tern Hill for No. 19 Course, which ran from 11th April to 24th July 1940. Again gaining an AA rating on the Harvard he arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 3rd August to convert to Hurricanes, his logbook shows a first flight in Spitfire L1071 at Turnhouse on 6th August.
Above: thought to be sometime in 1939, ARM leaning from window.
He then joined 3 Squadron at Wick on 19th August. He flew his first operational sortie on 4th September and his last with 3 Squadron on 19th September.
A posting to 615 Squadron at Northolt followed on 10th October. He notes an Me109 shot down by the squadron on 29th October.
Above: Moore leading a scramble.
On 17th November the squadron was patrolling Maidstone when his Hurricane R4220 was damaged in a surprise attack but he returned safely.
1941 started with a posting to the CFS at Upavon for an instructor's course after which Moore, with a 'Should make a good instructor' commendation, commenced instructing at his old school 8 E&RFTS Woodley on 3rd March. By 9th May he had recorded 500 hours on the Magister.
This posting continued until February 1942 when he sailed for Canada to instruct at 36 EFTS Pearce, near Fort Macleod, Alberta, operating the Boeing Stearman. After logging 1000 hours on this type he moved to 32 EFTS Bowden, also in Alberta with a mix of Stearmans and Tiger Moths.
A further stint at 34 EFTS Assiniboia in Saskatchewan followed on 21st November. He received an 'Above Average' rating and 'An extremely capable & efficient instructor' comment when processed at 31 Personnel Despatch Centre, Moncton, New Brunswick for return to the UK.
By 3rd March 1943 he was serving at 59 Operational Training Unit Millfield, instructing on the Miles Master and Hurricane. He was commended for cool thinking when the engine of his Hurricane failed on takeoff on 9th April. By 14th May the unit was at Brunton in Northumberland and he had amassed 1500 hours on the Hurricane.
He returned to operations and his old squadron, No. 3, on 26th May 1943, operating the Typhoon at West Malling but moving to Manston in the following month. In the meantime he had completed a weeks Beam Approach Course at Wittering in Oxford aircraft.
Above: 3 Squadron, date unknown.
F/O R Pottinger, F/O R Cole, Sgt. JL Foster, Moore
F/O JM Downs, Sgt. JA La Rocque, Sgt. R Crisford, F/Sgt. Darley
Operating on sweeps over Occupied Europe, his logbook records frequent losses with Sgt. EK Ticklepenny, F/O AT Little, P/O CG Benjamin, and F/O RMH Purdon all being lost between 27th June and 1st July.
One of Moore's colleagues was a Belgian aristocrat, Baron Jean Michel PMG de Selys Longchamps. A cavalry officer, he was interned by the Vichy authorities but escaped to Britain and was accepted for flight training with the RAF.
He is remembered for his unauthorised solo airstrike on the Gestapo headquarters in Brussels on 20th January 1943 for which he was demoted to Pilot Officer for acting without orders but then awarded the DFC. He was killed on 16th August 1943 when his aircraft crashed on landing at RAF Manston after a sortie over Ostend.
Above: Moore second left.
Moore's logbook shows intense operations right through to 19th February 1944, comprising ground attack, anti-shipping and bomber escort sorties across France, Belgium and Holland. The squadron operates from Manston and Swanton Morely in Norfolk.
On 5th October 1943 the Squadron CO S/Ldr. R Hawkins, F/O JL Foster and WO1 JA La Rocque RCAF are all lost on a sortie to Ghent in Belgium.
F/Lt. RM Walmsley is lost on 10th November.
F/Sgt. NJ McCook RNZAF is lost on 8th February 1944.
On 19th February 1944 he makes his first flight in a Tempest.
The tempo of operations increases in the build-up to D-Day, in early May the squadron is re-equipped with Tempests and sorties concentrate on rail and barge targets.
On 27th May F/Lt. T Zurakowski and F/Sgt. JL Mannion are lost.
His logbook for 6th June records:
Started very quietly for No. 3 Squadron but with long hours of readiness, except for a convoy patrol off Beachy Head and then at 22.30 we took off as a squadron to patrol the beach head. It was a bad night and very dark by the time we got the other side it was impossible to see anything and as we're not b.... night fighters as the w/c said we returned and landed at Ford at 00.05. Twenty two hours on duty.
On 8th June he claims a Me109G destroyed over Rouen, believed to be the first air victory by a Tempest.
From 18th June to 14th August the squadron is based at Newchurch on anti-V1 ('Divers') duties. This is not without risk, on 1st July F/O GE Kosh is lost and F/Sgt. S Domanski on the 3rd.
Also on the 1st Sgt. F Lawrence and P/O CG Benjamin had been shot down by Fw190s off the Hook of Holland and made PoW.
Between 18th June and 10th August 1944 Moore destroyed twenty V1 flying bombs and shared another.
On 13th July F/O JM Downs is shot down and made PoW.
On 15th July Sgt. R Crisford is shot down into the sea, rescued by a fishing boat and made PoW.
Moore was awarded the DFC (gazetted 21st July 1944).
On 6th August F/Sgt. DJ Mackerras (AUS) is killed while engaging a V1.
On 14th August Moore was posted to 56 Squadron as a Flight Commander, the squadron was also operating Tempests from Newchurch.
The squadron moved to B-60 at Grimbergen, Belgium on 28th September and he shared in the destruction of a Fw190 the next day.
There was another move, to Volkel in Holland, on 5th October and he reports taking a long-range shot at a Me262, without result.
On 28th November he shot down a He219 and shared another and on 17th December shot down a Me109 over Munster.
He was advised of the award of a bar to his DFC, it was gazetted on 27th February 1945.
After a final sortie on 14th January 1945 he was returned to the UK, tour-expired.
His next posting, on 23rd January 1945 was a test pilot's course at Boscombe Down. On completion on 5th January 1946 he went to the Air Fighting Development Unit, Central Fighter Establishment at West Raynham.
After being offered a position as a test pilot with Rolls Royce Moore was released from the RAF on 1st May 1946 as a Squadron Leader, he joined RR the same month and immediately began flying Spitfire, Seafire, Lancaster, Meteor, Vampire and Hornet aircraft at Hucknall.
Further types followed until 19th February 1947 when he took up a position with Saab of Sweden, specifically to test the J29 Tunnan (Barrel) at Linkoeping.
On 29th October 1947 he married Georgie Crawford Clifford at Reading.
Above: Moore climbing into the J29.
The first flight of the first prototype J29 took place on 1st September 1948, testing continued with enhancements to the second prototype, which flew on 28th February 1949.
On 3rd November 1949 the test programme ended and Moore was engaged by Saab to establish a Saab car dealership in the UK, starting in January 1950.
Above: Moore and his wife Georgie refuelling at Schipol in a Saab Safir, they were taking part in an air race and came first.
He was Managing Director of Saab Cars UK Ltd. for 23 years until 1973 and initiated the practice of celebrity endorsement (Jackie Pallo, the professional wrestler). He also understood that if the car was successful professionally it would help build the consumer market. He built long lasting relationships with Eric Carlsson, the multiple Monte Carlo and RAC rally winner and his wife Pat Moss, the five time European Women’s Rally Champion.
Above L to R: Pat Moss, Eric Carlsson, Moore.
Moore made a last flight in a Tiger Moth at Woodley on 11th July 1952, by which time he had amassed 2343.05 flying hours.
Throughout his life he played competitive tennis, squash and golf.
Moore passed away on 9th October 1988 at Windsor, survived by his wife, son Robert Michael Moore, daughter-in-law Sarah, grandchildren Charlotte, Darren and Anne-Marie and daughter Bryony Crawford Moore.
Majority of research and all images courtesy of Bryony Crawford Moore.