Thursday 6 December 2012

Australia 31, Ireland 11? One less Australian in the Battle of Britain?

Australia 31, Ireland 11?

Soon after I started researching Australians in the Battle of Britain I checked the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour and Commemorative Roll. Those Australians such as Pat Hughes and Stuart Walch who had trained in the Royal Australian Air Force before taking up short service commissions in the Royal Air Force are included on the Roll of Honour. The others who joined the RAF and died while a member of that service are honoured on the Commemorative Roll.

There were two omissions from the Commemorative Roll: Peter John Moore, 112401, who was killed in action on 3 June 1942 and William Storey Moore, 40007, who died on 24 December 1943.

I first contacted the Australian War Memorial in January 2011 about the omissions and sent in as much information as I had about Peter John Moore and William Storey Moore. I was advised in September that year that Peter John Moore had been included on the Roll based on the evidence I had provided. Unfortunately, despite extensive searches of Australian records, I could find no evidence to support William Storey Moore’s Australian identity, and so I left it to Australian War Memorial to confirm his status.

I contacted the Australian War Memorial again in mid-November 2012 to check on progress. I was advised that they were waiting for personal information from RAF Disclosures. This has now been received and, unfortunately it appears that the Australian Battle of Britain contingent has been reduced by one.  

RAF Disclosures has advised that:

· William Storey Moore was born in Dublin, Eire on 21 November 1916

· He was schooled in Dublin until 1932. He continued his education in Australia between 1934–1936

· He joined the RAF on his return from Australia

· At the outbreak of war he was serving at RAF Mount Batten

· He joined 236 Squadron on 26 January 1940

· He joined 143 Squadron on 29 October 1943

· He died on 24 December 1943

· He married on 4 July 1940 at St Peter’s Church, Over Wallop, Hampshire and his wife’s maiden name was Beck

· His father was William Moore MA of 10 Frankford Road, Dundrum, Co Dublin, Eire

· His mother was Mrs G. I. Moore Dartmouth, Dartry Road, Dublin, Eire

· At the time of his death his wife was in the UK and the Air Ministry communicated with her in England at that time.

It seems Cecilia Moore came to Australia later as the CWGC’s website has her listed with a Melbourne address, and a Repatriation Commission file was raised for her.

The Australian War Memorial has now advised that, so far, there does not seem to be any proof that William Storey Moore was an Australian (serving with an allied force) or being resident here at the outbreak of the Second World War, which are the eligibility criteria for the Commemorative Roll.

So, Australia 31, Ireland 11.

This is purely speculation on my part, but it seems that when the CWGC corresponded with Cecilia Moore they assumed that, because of her Melbourne address, William Storey Moore was an Australian, and hence his Australian identity was ‘established’. A similar thing happened, though in reverse, for Peter John Moore. He was originally considered an American by the CWGC as his mother was living in America when they first corresponded with her. The error was corrected some years later by Peter’s sister.

Although the total of Australians fighting in the Battle of Britain will now have to be reduced, it is good that William Storey Moore’s true nationality has been established, and hopefully something more of his life and contribution will be discovered in his true homeland.

BUT if anyone has any other evidence that attests to William Storey Moore’s Australian identity, please let me know and I will put it to the Australian War Memorial for consideration.

Kristen Alexander, 7 December 2012


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