The Museum Of London Docklands has put on display a rare George Cross medal awarded to Richard V Moore for his bomb disposal efforts during the Second World War.
The medal is on show at the West India Quay museum as part of a display that will recognise the heroic role Moore’s team played during the Blitz.
On the night of September 16, 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 Richard V Moore was one of the naval staff who volunteered to make these mines safe. Between September 17 and 21, Moore, along with Lt-Commander Dick Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth, travelled across London, Essex and Kent defusing the unexploded mines.
On September 21, 1940, 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”. Only 12 George Cross medals had been directly awarded before Moore’s.
Moore’s George Cross medal, donated by his family, is part of the new display which will be housed within the Docklands At War gallery 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 story relevant to children.
Curator of Social and Working History at the museum Vyki Sparkes said: “This 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.”
The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the honours system awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" to service personnel and British civilians.