Arthur Peter Moore (born in London, England on 13.12.1907) was educated at Brighton Grammar School, Brighton, England. After leaving school he became a Tea Planter at Dunsinane, Pundaluoya in Ceylon.
He married Margaret Mary Moore nee Fairfax (born in Sydney, NSW, Australia on 23.5.1910) at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, London, England in 1932.
There were three daughters of the marriage: Mary-Jane Moore born in Ceylon on 10.12.1934; Margaret Annabel Moore (born in Sydney, Australia on 17.1.1937); and Elizabeth Lucy Moore (born in Sydney, Australia on 7.11.1940).
Arthur Peter Moore, before WWII, migrated with his wife and eldest daughter from Ceylon to Sydney, Australia in 1935. He became a member of the Sydney Stock Exchange.
He joined the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1936 and in the same year graduated from one of the early classes conducted at the RAN Anti Submarine School then located at HMAS Rushcutter in Sydney.
Upon his enlistment, Lieutenant Arthur Peter Moore RANVR joined the ships company of the new Grimsby class sloop, HMAS Parramatta (2), built on Cockatoo Island in Sydney and commissioned on 8 April 1940.
Following a brief period exercising with the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla, HMAS Parramatta sailed from Fremantle on 29 June 1940 and joined the Red Sea Force at the end of July. Except for a visit to Bombay in December 1940 HMAS Parramatta spent the next nine months in one of the world’s most torrid zones escorting, patrolling and minesweeping. In April 1941 she took part in the British operations against Italian Eritrea, East Africa. One of her last tasks as a unit of the Red Sea Force was towing the cruiser HMSCapetown from Eritrea to Port Sudan after she had been torpedoed by an Italian ‘E’ Boat during the night of 7 April 1941.
In May 1941 HMAS Parramatta transferred to the Mediterranean Station beginning with three weeks based on Port Tewfik at the head of the Gulf of Suez. On 3 June she reached Alexandria and joined the battle scarred Mediterranean Fleet where she was assigned to escort duties in support of the Western Desert campaign in Libya.
Following the start of the British Eighth Army offensive in Libya, on November 18, 1941, HMAS Parramatta and her sister ship HMAS Yarrasuccessfully escorted a slow convoy to Libya from Alexandria in Egypt.
At this time the beleaguered Tobruk garrison was running dangerously low on ammunition. Accordingly, HMAS Parramatta and the RN destroyer HMS Avon Vale were despatched to escort the heavily laden ammunition ship Hanne from Alexandria to Tobruk in an attempt to alleviate this critical situation.
Italy was now in the war thus enabling German dive bombers to harass Mediterranean shipping at will by day and German submarines to strike by night and day. This was a perilous voyage.
Around midnight on November 26, 1941, the convoy of three ships were battling their way through heavy rain and surging seas in pitch black darkness en route to Tobruk. HMS Avon Vale became separated from the convoy. In hindsight she was fortunate to have done so.
Unknown to all, the convoy was being stalked by the German submarineU 559 whose commander had momentarily glimpsed the convoy in a vivid flash of lightening. Shortly after midnight he fired three torpedoes at the convoy at a range of 2,000 yards but all missed their target. Then, at12.45am, using a single torpedo, he fired again at closer range. HMASParramatta was hit amidships. There were two almost simultaneous explosions, the second thought to be the ship’s magazine. HMASParramatta – virtually torn apart – rolled rapidly to starboard and sank at 32°20′N 24°35′E - approximately 64 kilometres east-northeast of Tobruk.
Only those on deck had any chance of survival. There were only 24 survivors.
HMS Avon Vale, by now returned to the convoy, bravely rescued 21 survivors from the wreckage strewn sea; 3 others were able to swim to the Libyan coast where they were rescued by advancing British troops.
Tragically, a total of 138 lives were lost: 136 crew (130 RAN; 6 RN) plus 2 RN ‘passengers’ who were hitching a ride to Tobruk.
The Hanne with her cargo of ammunition arrived undamaged at Tobruk with HMS Avon Vale.
On 30 October 1942, U-559 came under depth charge attack by a Wellesley patrol aircraft and several British warshipsabout 153 kilometres north-east of Port Said. Fatally damaged and forced to the surface, the U-boat was abandoned and scuttled. As she was sinking, a 3 man British boarding party from the destroyer HMS Petard was able to capture the keysetting sheets with all current settings for the U-boat Enigma network but the U-boat sank drowning 2 of the boarding party before the Enigma cipher machine itself could be recovered.
The Enigma material retrieved was immensely valuable to the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, who had been unable to read U-boat Enigma for nine months. The captured material allowed them to read the cyphers for several weeks and thereby break the U-boat Enigma code*.
Eight German submariners and two British seamen were lost and 37 German survivors were taken prisoner of war.
* Kahn, David: Seizing The Enigma - The Race to Break The German U-boat Codes, 1939-1943. (1991). p. 224 Souvenir Press.
*Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh : Enigma- The Battle for the Code. (2001). pp. 259–262 London: Phoenix.
(This Tribute is submitted by Elizabeth Lucy Bell (nee Moore),
the youngest daughter of the late Lieut. AP Moore RANVR)
“For the Fallen”
by Robert Laurence Binyon
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.