Army veteran John Moor has died peacefully at his home in Lazonby at the age of 99.
John Sisterson Moor, more affectionately and widely known as “Jock”, was born on November 13, 1921, in Carr’s Mill, Whitfield.
He was the oldest of three children, having a sister Joyce and brother Raymond, born to George and Agnes Annie Moor.
The family moved from Whitfield to Staffield where George took up the post of head gardner at Staffield Hall.
Jock went to school in Kirkoswald and as a young boy he was a chorister and server in the church.
On leaving school he joined the Lazonby Co-op and it was there, at the age of 20 in August, 1941, that he was called up to serve in the army throughout World War Two.
After basic training with the Highland Light Infantry in Maryhill Glasgow, he had further training at Nottingham Chillwell, Trent Bridge and Hucknell, before sailing from Gourock on the Clyde on the Orangi River to Durban.
The convoy lost to U-boats two troop ships on the way — they slept in hammocks in their uniforms in case of attack.
They then transferred to the old Mauritania, to Port Tewfik in the Red Sea – the port at the southern end of the Suez Canal – then to Mena Camp, Cairo.
Jock then went up the Western Desert to join the 7th Armoured Division – the Desert Rats – under General Waveley.
In five years of service he toured through Egypt, Iraq, Iran and then Palestine. From there they joined up with the 3rd Carpathian Polish Division under General Anders, first in Iraq, then on into Italy as part of the invasion force landing at Bari, then on through Monte Casino, Rome, Bologna and Ancona.
It was while in Italy that Jock met, fell in love with and married his beautiful wife Noemi.
While his unit was camped on the beach on the north side of Porto Sant’Elpedio and he was feeling unwell lying in his tent, a young girl came in and brought him some peaches.
Her name was Anna Maria and she invited Jock back to her grandma’s house for a meal, which is where he met and fell in love with Noemi.
Jock bought a book and taught himself Italian so he could write to her and she to him. The couple were married on February 19 1945, in the Garrison Church, Ancona, Italy. They were married for 54 years, Noemi dying in 1999.
After being demobbed in 1946 it was not until 1947 that Noemi and their first daughter, Anna, were able to travel to the UK to join him.
They lived at Staffield with Jock’s parents and Jock returned to work at the Co-op. In January, 1949, they moved to Lazonby, where Jock lived right up until his death.
In 1952, he joined the Lazonby fire service and rose through the ranks to become the sub officer.
In 1972, he received a commemorative medal celebrating 20 years in the service. In honour of his long service, the fire engine went ahead of the funeral cortege and the officers formed a guard of honour at St Oswald’s Church, Kirkoswald.
Jock was an active member and stalwart of the British Legion and proudly represented it on two occasions in London, at the Cenotaph and Royal Albert Hall on Remembrance Day.
He was also one of the volunteers who, in 1964, dug the hole for Lazonby swimming pool and, when completed, he filled it using the local fire engine.
He was a long-time member of Staffield Cricket Club, of which his dad, George, was a founder member, both as a player from the age of 14 and, on retirement, as an umpire. He loved football, supporting Carlisle United, and was a gifted darts, snooker and billiards player.
In the last few years of his life, despite the onset of vascular dementia, when asked, Jock could recall in minute detail facts, places, people and events in his long and eventful life.
He lived through an amazing and eventful period of history and if you had an opportunity to sit a while and chat with him, he was a living storybook with a phenomenal and detailed memory.
You were not to ask about his health, but about El Alamein and Monte Casino, his Polish, Free French, Greek, Australian and New Zealand comrades in arms; the Coronation celebrations of three monarchs; the Suez crisis; and, with great perception and humour, he would tell you about his exploits in Cairo with camels and spending his 21st birthday while in Kermanshah, Iran, or using his tea to wet his shaving brush because water was scarce and rationed in the eastern desert.
He would talk very matter-of-factly about when he was in Italy and was selected, along with two others from his regiment, to go to the Vatican in Rome for an audience with Pope Pius XII. He also went to Jerusalem and walked the Via Dolorosa, which had a profound effect upon him.
He would tell you with a twinkle in his eye about meeting Noemi, his future wife, in Italy, and walking along a beach chaperoned by her sister and mother.
However, he still managed to get close enough to catch flu from her.
Right up until his death, he was determined to make the best of his situation. Despite the difficulties he faced, he never complained; he just got on with life doing the best he could.
His sense of humour and his jokes – sometimes risqué – were legendary.
Jock was a truly funny, gentle, caring and loving man, a loving, faithful husband, and proud father to Anna, Frankie, Ian, Eileen, Daniela and Tony, and a grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and father-in-law.
The family thanked the carers and staff of Eden Country Care who cared for Jock at home in the final years of his life, and Lazonby fire brigade for providing an engine to lead the funeral cortege and forming a guard of honour at St Oswald’s Church.
Donations in Jock’s memory can be made to the Kirkoswald surgery equipment fund via Walker’s Funeral Directors, Penrith, who had charge of arrangements.