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Francis Pepys Durie Moore

Servicenumber : 271510
Rank : Lieutenant
Regiment : Royal Artillery
Unit : 1st Airlanding Light Regiment
Date of Death : 16-12-2014
Age : 90
Francis Pepys Durie 'Frank' Moore was the Troop Leader of F Troop, 3rd Battery. He saw action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. 
Moore landed near Wolfheze on 17 september 1944. Shortly after landing he took a party to examine some 105mm guns which were stored in the grounds of the psychiatric hospital. One of the guns was found to be booby trapped and, as it was unlikely that they could be put to good use, he left them to be spiked by the engineers.
On 18 september it was decided to move the guns of 3rd Battery to a position near the Old Church in Oosterbeek. At first light reconnaissance parties set off and later the guns and crews followed them. Some 40 glider pilots travelled with them to provide protection. The three guns of F Troop, under Lieutenant Conlin and Moore, were positioned in a field immediately east of the church. During the next days the guns of F Troops supported the men at the bridge in Arnhem and the attacks in the St. Elizabeth Hospital area.
When the attacks to reach Arnhem bridge failed and the troops retreated to Oosterbeek the guns of F Troop were beginning to feel the force of the German mortar bombardment. On 20 september the first two men of F Troop were killed when a mortar shell hit the edge of their trench. 
Frank Moore sometimes used the tower of the Old Church as an observation post. 
At the end of the fighting at Oosterbeek the gun positions of 3 Battery at the church were under constant shell, mortar and sniper fire and on 24 september Frank Moore was wounded by some mortar splinters in the legs. He stayed at duty with the guns. On 25 september Moore was standing in the church porch with Captain 'Zeke' Rose of 112 Field Regiment. They were identifying targets when Rose was hit and fatally wounded by machine gun fire. Frank Moore is quoted on page 138 of the book The Gunners at Arnhem (Peter Wilkinson): 'Zeke was standing next to me while I pointed out enemy mortar and machine gun positions. He was hit by a burst of MG fire, but I was not. He was put in the church where he said he was not in pain. I am not sure if he died there or later in hospital.'
Frank Moore escaped over the Rhine during the withdrawal of the 1st British Airborne Division in the night of 25/26 september 1944. 
After the war, on 8 october 1945, Frank Moore transferred to the Parachute Regiment and served as the commanding officer of No.3 Platoon, 21st Independent Parachute Company. He later worked as a product development and marketing consultant specialising in agricultural machinery. He designed a special mower for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to use in its cemeteries.
Francis Pepys Durie Moore passed away on 16 december 2014 at the age of 90. On 7 january 2015 the newspaper Bridport News published an article about Frank Moore. In the article he is quoted about a man's death at Arnhem that was particulary poignant to him: '"I never knew his name. He was from a Dorset regiment and he was standing next to me when a machine gun opened fire. It missed me and hit him in the neck. We cut his jacket off him and tried to put something over the wound. He said he didn’t feel any pain. At the aid post you virtually had to tread over people, with corpses stacked up outside. We put him in the back of the church where sadly he died. I never knew his name." Eventually by a set of unlikely coincidences he found out the man was called Tom Rose and his sister in law came from Sherborne. She put him in touch with the man’s sister and her husband and son. "They were very happy because I was the first person they’d met that knew what had happened to him."'
Sources: 'Gunners at Arnhem', Facebook, website http://www.unithistories.com, website http://www.bridportnews.co.uk, 'Leading the Way to Arnhem' and 'Winged Gunners'


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