War hero’s rare George Cross medal displayed at Museum of London Docklands

World War II medals awarded to Richard V Moore. Photograph: Museum of London Docklands
World War II medals awarded to Richard V. Moore. Photograph: Museum of London Docklands

A rare George Cross medal awarded to naval officer Richard V. Moore for his brave bomb disposal efforts in the East End during the Second World War has gone on show at the Museum of London Docklands.

The museum, which is located near Canary Wharf, put the medal on display for the first time yesterday – on the 76th anniversary of the fatal explosion of a German mine which killed two of Moore’s colleagues.

It had been dropped by the Luftwaffe on a Dagenham factory during the Blitz as part of the Nazis’ relentless battery of the East End.

The mine killed Lieutenant-Commander Dick Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth as they tried to defuse it.

The pair were posthumously awarded the George Cross for “great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty”.

Moore, who was tackling another mine outside the factory, when the explosion happened, survived.

He too was awarded the George Cross, and it is his medal – which, along with other medals, was donated by his family – which now forms part of a new display in the Docklands at War gallery.

The gallery includes an interactive display with a graphic novel and 3D puzzle – aimed at making the museum pieces more accessible for youngsters.

Moore, Ellingworth and Ryan travelled the length and breadth of the Docklands and Essex defusing German mines that had been dropped with the aim of destroying London’s industrial infrastructure and weakening the war effort.

Vyki Sparkes, the Museum of London Docklands’ curator of social and working history, 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.”

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