Captain Tom Moore knighted: His journey from British Army officer to the UK’s lockdown hero

He'll be knighted today...
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  • Captain Tom Moore was knighted by the Queen last year, after becoming standout hero during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. 

    The 100-year-old war veteran captured the hearts of the nation in the midst of the first lockdown, after pledging to raise as much money as possible for the NHS during the crisis. In the end, he raised a total of more than £32 million, after completing 100 laps of his garden.

    Captain Tom Moore died on February 2 2021, after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus and pneumonia.

    Before this, he received multiple honours from the Queen – including a knighthood.

    Nurse cries while celebrated Tom Moore who is due to be knighted

    Credit: Getty

    Captain Tom Moore knighted: where and when did it happen?

    Captain Tom Moore was knighted on Friday July 17 at Windsor Castle by Queen Elizabeth II herself.

    Normally, investitures like these take place at Buckingham Palace. But given that the Queen was isolating at Windsor during lockdown, she completed the official engagement in person there. It was one of the first official engagements that the Queen completed since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year.

    The ceremony was unfortunately not available to watch in person and the public were discouraged from going to Windsor to view the proceedings, due to lockdown restrictions.

    But Captain Tom Moore said in a tweet when the honour was announced that it would ‘be the most special of days for me’.

    So what was Tom’s journey towards his knighthood?

    A mural of Tom Moore on the side of a house in Ireland

    Credit: Getty

    Captain Tom’s journey to a knighthood

    Having recently celebrated his 100th birthday, Sir Captain Tom Moore’s route to knighthood was the journey of a lifetime.

    Tom was born in Keighley in West Yorkshire. When he was younger, Captain Tom served as an officer in India, the Burma campaign, and Sumatra during the Second World War. He later became an instructor in armoured warfare, too.

    After his service in the war, he worked as a managing director of a concrete company – and even enjoyed motorcycle racing in his spare time.

    At the beginning of April, Tom decided to walk 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire, to try and raise £1000 for NHS Charities Together before his 100th birthday on April 30. And of course, he far surpassed his target, earning £1 million initially after just a few days of fundraising, following media attention and press stories on his efforts.

    During the course of his efforts, Tom was also asked to open the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate, which he did alongside his daughter via video-link.

    Credit: Getty

    Tom also achieved a number one single during lockdown, taking part in a cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with Michael Ball.

    Later that month, Tom was made a honorary colonel by the Army Foundation College as a result of his fundraising efforts. He was also given a Pride of Britain award from Carol Vorderman for his NHS charity walk – so he certainly had a very busy lockdown!

    On the morning of Tom’s 100th birthday, he had raised £30 million in donations, despite finishing his 100 laps a few days earlier. The fundraising stayed open for a few days following his birthday, finishing with a whopping £32 million total.

    Tom Moore received more than 125,000 birthday cards - pictured lined up on the floor

    Overwhelmingly, he was sent more than 125,000 birthday cards for the milestone birthday, many of which were displayed in the Great Hall of Bedford School. He also received a card, and no doubt a birthday telegram from the Queen celebrating his centenary on his birthday as well.

    During the pandemic, NHS staff held up signs for Captain Tom during the weekly ‘Clap for Carers’ – proving just how much of a hero he became for the country during an incredibly difficult time.

    He now even holds two Guinness World Records – as the fundraiser who has raised the greatest amount of money in an individual charity walk, and as the oldest person to achieve a number-one single in the UK charts. In April, he was also surprised on Good Morning Britain with a Pride of Britain Award, and a personal message from the Queen.

    Captain Tom’s knighthood was announced by Boris Johnson during lockdown, and he received the final honour on July 17 2020.

    Why does Captain come before sir?

    ‘Captain’ comes before ‘Sir’ because the first is a rank in the army, in which Captain Tom Moore served, while the second – ‘Sir’ – is an honorific title bestowed on men by the Queen when they are given a British knighthood.

    This is the formal way of addressing someone, according to Debrett’s Correct Form, with the military rank followed by the honorific title. Other people in history have also received the same titles and have been addressed in the same way. For example, Admiral (the Navy rank) the Viscount (honorific title) Nelson or Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington.

    What did Captain Tom do for a living?

    Primarily, Captain Sir Tom Moore served in the British army through the Second World War, in India and in the Burma campaign. After VE Day, he stayed in the army for 15 more years as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Dorset.

    He retired from duty in 1960 and according to his BBC obituary, became a sales manager for a roofing company in Yorkshire.

    Captain Sir Tom Moore after he is knighted by the Queen

    Credit: Getty

    In 1992, Captain Sir Tom retired at the age of 72.

    What regiment was Sir Tom Moore in?

    According to Captain Sir Tom Moore’s obituary, he served in the Duke of Wellington’s regiment after being conscripted into the British army in 1940.

    The Duke of Wellington’s regiment is an infantry battalion with historic links to the West Riding in Yorkshire.