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25 July 2016
The Museum of London Docklands has acquired a rare George Cross medal awarded to Richard V Moore for his bomb disposal efforts during the Second World War. The medal will be on show at the museum from 21 September as part of a display that will recognise the heroic and little-known role Moore’s team played during the Blitz.
On the night of 16 September 1940, near the beginning of the London Blitz, the German 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. From the period of 17 to 21 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 21 September 1940, Moore, Ryan and Ellingworth were called to Dagenham to defuse three German mines. Whist 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'. Only 12 George Cross medals had been directly awarded prior to Moore’s.
Moore’s George Cross medal will form part of the new display which will be housed within the Docklands at War gallery, set to open on 21 September to commemorate the gallant story of these men. As part of a new initiative the museum has introduced to make the collection more engaging for families, this will be an interactive display with a graphic novel and 3D puzzle that will make this heroic, historical story relatable to children.
Vyki Sparkes, Curator of Social and Working History at the museum, said:
“This important display allows the museum to recognise the bravery of some of those who volunteered to disable bombs and mines during the London Blitz. The efforts of Moore and his team saved countless lives, homes and allowed factories and airfields to continue their vital war work.”
Thanks go to the Moore family for their generosity in donating this prestigious award to the museum.
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The Museum of London Docklands is located at West India Quay in east London. Opened in 2003, this grade one listed converted Georgian sugar warehouse specifically tells the story of the port, river and city – focusing on trade, migration and commerce in London.
The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London Docklands with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added. www.museumoflondon.org.uk.