Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper
Royal Navy obituary in the Times newspaper

Royal NavyObituaries

The following obituary for Arthur William Moore appeared in the Times newspaper.

Obituary in the Times newspaper
10 April 1934


The death occurred on April 3 of Admiral Sir Arthur W. Moore, a former Lord of the Admiralty, and Commander-in-Chief on the Cape and China Stations and at Portsmouth. By his own wish the news of his death was not published until after his funeral. He was not related to Admiral Sir Gordon Moore, whose death we recorded on April 5.

Arthur William Moore was one of the large number of "rectory” admirals,” his father being the Rev. Edward Moore, Honorary Canon of Canterbury, and vicar of Frittenden, Kent, while his great-grandfather was John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1783-1805. The admiral's mother was a daughter, of the fourth Duke of Buccleuch. Born on July 30, 1847, Sir Arthur entered the Navy as a cadet in December, 1860, became a lieutenant in May, 1870, and a year later was appointed to the frigate Glasgow, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies. While in her he was awarded the bronze medal of the Royal Human Society for gallantry in rescuing an ordinary seaman of the ship who fell overboard. In February, 1877, he became first lieutenant of the corvette Charybdis, in China. Having been transferred in January, 1881, to the battleship Invincible, in the Mediterranean, he was promoted commander out of her in December of the same year. Six months later he joined the Orion, armour-plated corvette, of which he was commander during the Egyptian War. He was present at the occupation of Ismailia, and was afterwards in command of the Naval Flotilla on the Sweet Water Canal, which was organized for the transport of stores to the front, and for the conveyance of sick and wounded to the base. He was also present at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. His Egyptian services, in addition to the medal and clasp for Tel-el-Kebir, the Khedive’s bronze star, and the third class of the Medjidieh, brought him early promotion to captain on June 27, 1884.

His first service after promotion was as Flag-Captain in the Bacchante (the ship in which King George and his brother sailed round the world as cadets) to Rear-Admiral Sir Frederick Richards, Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies, where he was for three years from April, 1885. After commanding the small cruiser Medea in the naval manoeuvres of 1889 he was sent as one of the British representatives to the Anti-Slavery Congress which met in November of that year at Brussels. For this duty he was qualified by his experience of the slave traffic on the east coast of Africa. In 1890-91 he served as a member of the Australian Defence Commission, and on the completion of this duty was made a C.M.G. The rest of his captain’s time was occupied by sea service in command of the Dreadnought in the Mediterranean, and by the command of the cadets’ training ship Britannia at Dartmouth. His term in the latter was marked by some drastic reforms, chiefly disciplinary, and he inaugurated the system whereby each lieutenant of the ship had special charge of a team of cadets from their entry until they passed out, acting as their instructor, monitor, and "sea daddy" during the whole period of their time on board. The plan worked so well that it was remarkable it was never thought of before.

After leaving the Britannia Captain Moore went to the Admiralty as Fourth Sea Lord, where he served from 1898 to 1901, being promoted meanwhile to rear-admiral on January 13, 1899. He was afterwards selected to succeed Sir Robert Harris as Commander-in-Chief at the Cape, his appointment being dated February 11, 1901. He took out from England the cruiser Gibraltar as his flagship, and was actively concerned in the concluding phases of the South African War. Lord Kitchener wrote in his dispatches:- "I am greatly indebted to Admiral Moore for the kind manner in which he has always endeavoured to meet the requirements of the Army in the field." At the Diamond Jubilee of 1897 he was made C.B.; he was now promoted to K.C.B., with effect from June 26, 1902.

Having become a Vice-admiral, he was appointed in May, 1905, as Second-in-Command to Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson in the Channel Fleet, with his flag in the battleship Caesar, and on the occasion of the visit to Portsmouth of the French Squadron in August, 1905, he was created a K.C.V.O. by King Edward. In March, 1906, he became Commander-in-Chief in China, but, after his promotion to Admiral on October 10, 1907, he was relieved. His last appointment was as Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, from March, 1911, to July, 1912, when he was retired for age. His period coincided with the Coronation festivities, and he hoisted his flag in the battleship Lord Nelson as Commander-in-chief of the Fleet assembled for review by King George, when there were 165 war vessels at Spithead, in addition to 18 foreign warships. In the Coronation honours list Sir Arthur was promoted to G.C.B., and after the inspection of the Fleet on June 24, 1911, King George promoted him to G.C.V.O.

Sir Arthur Moore was a fine seaman, wholehearted in his profession, and although he did not specialize in any particular branch, he was a gifted leader and a capable administrator. Had circumstances been other than they were he would have made a very good First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, for which office he was at one time mentioned as a likely successor to Lord Fisher. As it was, he held some of the highest posts in the Navy, and of his four commands as a flag officer, three were as Commander-in-Chief.

A correspondent writes:-
Those who were privileged to know Sir Arthur Moore will remember him best not for what he did but for what he was - a man of wise judgment, simple piety, infinite kindness and generosity, understanding sympathy, and delightful humour. Even at the age of 86 the youthfulness of his outlook was amazing. He was equally interested in world affairs and the daily difficulties of those with whom he came in personal contact, and each spring and autumn he would set out alone on some carefully-planned voyage of discovery to gain fresh knowledge of England or revisit familiar scenes here and in Scotland. It was from the English countryside, and particularly from the Kentish village which he had left as a boy of 14 to go to sea, and where 72 years later he was laid at rest, that he drew much of the strength and simplicity of his character, but probably the strongest single influence on his life was his devotion to his younger sister Evelyn, and when she died 12 years ago he seemed for a time completely stunned. That he was able to emerge from the shadow was due in part to his strong religious faith and in part to the wish to carry to completion the unostentatious work which she had carried on among those who had suffered misfortune from the War. His circle of friendships was a surprisingly wide one for a man who had outlived so many of his contemporaries, for he had the gift of sympathy and understanding which oversteps the boundaries of age and circumstance, and there are many who will consider it their greatest happiness and pride that they were privileged to know a man with so splendid and lovable a character. His life was devoted to the unselfish service of God, his Sovereign, and his fellow-men, and of him it may indeed be said that “Such kind of people are the flower and force of a kingdom.”

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