Air Vice-Marshal Charles Moore
The Daily Telegraph & telegraph.co.uk
Air Vice-Marshal Charles Moore, who has died aged 95, began his RAF career flying 1914-18 vintage bi-planes in the Middle East; three and half decades later, he was flying jet fighters.
After completing his officer training at RAF Cranwell at the end of 1930, Moore flew Siskin and Bulldog fighters with No 41 Squadron at Northolt. In April 1932 he was posted to Helwan in Egypt and joined No 45 Squadron, flying the Fairy III D, descendant of an aircraft designed during the First World War. For two years, he flew to many remote areas of the Middle East and East Africa in his single-engine bi-plane.
In May 1933 his aircraft was one of six that flew via Transjordan to tour Iraq, landing at Army and RAF outposts, among them Amman, Kirkuk, Mosul and Shaibah. He completed a wide range of other flights, including the exploration of a coastal route down the Red Sea, mail runs to desert landing grounds and exercises with armoured car units.
Early the next year, No 45 conducted a demanding and unique flag-waving exercise in response to Italy's increasing belligerence in the region. Six aircraft were instructed to fly the "South African Air Force Reinforcement Exercise". Moore was appointed navigation leader for the 9,000-mile enterprise, which took the aircraft to Pietersburg via such places as Wadi Halfa, Khartoum, Nairobi, Bulawayo and Pretoria.
Arriving after 11 days without mishap, the aircraft carried out many displays and bombing demonstrations. Further displays and exercises, some with the King's African Rifles, were carried out on the six-week return journey, via Uganda, Tanganyika, Somaliland and Sudan.
Charles Stuart Moore was born on February 27 1910 at Hampstead and educated at Sutton Valence School, Kent, before entering the RAF College as a flight cadet in January 1929. The syllabus for pilot training was very varied in those days, and Moore's final report commented that he was exceptional for naval organisation but below average in Morse and carpentry. He also excelled at sanitation and hygiene.
On return from the Middle East, Moore attended the Central Flying School and trained to be a flying instructor. He returned to Egypt at the end of 1936, when he joined the staff of the RAF's only overseas pilot training establishment, No 4 Flying Training School at Abu Sueir.
Two years later he joined the staff of Headquarters Middle East in Cairo where he remained for almost three years. On promotion to group captain in July 1941, he assumed command of the RAF station at Port Sudan, an important staging post situated on the Red Sea.
Returning to England in May 1943, after almost seven years in Egypt and Sudan, Moore's ship was torpedoed and he lost all his belongings, including his diaries. After service at the Headquarters No 11 (Fighter) Group he commanded operational training units for fighter pilots. At the end of the war he was serving at Fighter Command's headquarters at Bentley Priory.
After two years in the Air Ministry as Director of Plans, Moore left for a two-year appointment as the senior RAF instructor at the US Air War College at Montgomery, Alabama, a post that he recalled as one of the most stimulating and rewarding of his long career. Fellow officers described him as a "great ambassador for Britain".
On his return, he spent three years as Director of Intelligence in the Air Ministry, a period that included the Suez campaign, when his expert knowledge of the Middle East, and Egypt in particular, was a great benefit. In September 1956 he was aware of being insufficiently familiar with current flying operations and spent three months learning to fly the Meteor jet fighter.
In 1958 Moore's extensive experience of Middle East affairs was put to further use when he was appointed to serve at the Headquarters Middle East Air Force (North) in Cyprus at a time when the Eoka crisis was still of great concern. On the establishment of the Near East Air Force, and his promotion to air vice-marshal in March 1961, Moore remained in Cyprus as Air Officer Administration before retiring from the RAF in July 1962.
The following year Moore joined the Foreign Office and was posted to Teheran, where he spent five years as head of the British liaison team to the Central Treaty Organisation (Cento).
In retirement, he was a hard-working and successful fundraiser with a special interest in supporting schools. His integrity and confidence proved a great asset.
He was a keen photographer and supporter of the Friends of Sandhurst Academy Chapel, and was still driving his motor car "rather fast" until shortly before his death on May 26.
Charles Moore was appointed OBE in 1961 and CB in 1962. He married first, in 1937, Winifred Rogers, who died in 1957. He married secondly, in 1961 (dissolved 1982), Jean Wilson. He is survived by a daughter.
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