Hero pilot who saved his family from the Blitz and survived being shot down by the Nazis after joining RAF at 17 dies from coronavirus aged 96

  • John Moore, 96, died at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, south Wales 
  • He signed up to the RAF at 17 so he could start service straight away at 18
  • The keen rambler walked an impressive 800 miles a year until his death 

A Second World War hero pilot who saved his family’s life and vowed ‘never to waste a moment’ after he survived being shot down by the Nazis has died from coronavirus aged 96.

RAF hero John Moore spent the Second World War saving lives, including his sister’s during the Liverpool Blitz, before he had turned 18 he had already signed up to serve as a pilot.  

His crew of six men flew 27 missions over Europe before their Lancaster was shot by enemy fire and came down over Lincolnshire. Two crew members died in the crash and three were left seriously injured. 

But John managed to survive the crash and spent a month in hospital recovering.

Keen rambler John Moore walked up to 800 miles a year, despite his age, right up until his death from coronavirus, aged 96

Pilot John Moore signed up for the RAF aged just 17 so that he could join the service as soon as he turned 18. He would fly 27 missions over Europe before being shot down

Neighbours and friends of hero John have now paid tribute to the ‘lovely man’ who had a ‘wonderful wit’.

He died at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, South Wales, on March 28 after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Villagers in his home of Aberthin near Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, lit candles in their windows to mark his passing.

Friend Lindsey Alford said: “Ever humble, John joked that he only joined the RAF to escape the Blitz.

“In more reflective moments he spoke of how the experiences of war profoundly changed him – he vowed to never waste a moment and live life to the full.

“John kept his promise and became an inspiration to all who knew him.”

John moved to the village 30 years ago with his late wife Mary. He had two children, two step-children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was born in Liverpool on June 14, 1923, to a Welsh mother and Irish father.

Throughout the Liverpool Blitz from 1940 to 1941 he worked in the civil defence unit – extinguishing mercury incendiary bombs and pulling residents from toppled buildings. 

He was just 17 when he rescued his sister Nell and her two-year-old son Alan who had sheltered in a reinforced cupboard under the stairs.

John signed up for the RAF before he was legally old enough to train – to make sure that when he turned 18 he would be drafted in.

Keen rambler John often walked up to an impressive 800 miles a year despite being 96.

One tribute said: “I have just learnt the very sad news that John Moore has passed away at the age of 96 after contracting the Coronavirus.

“I know that some people in the village knew John from playing bridge with him, from The Hare and Hounds, where he was a regular, and from the Ramblers.”

The tribute added: “A lovely man, great to walk with and a wonderful wit.”

The village now hopes to hold a memorial event in June if lockdown is lifted.


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