On the 18th of January 2017 the 208th anniversary of the death of Sir John Moore was commemorated with a wreath laying ceremony after Evensong at the Sir John Moore Memorial at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Lt Gen Sir John Moore, KB, (Nov 1761 – Jan 1809) was also known as Moore of Corunna and is best known for his military training reforms and for his death at the Battle of Corunna, in which he defeated a French army under Marshal Soult during the Peninsular War.
In the early part of his military career Moore served in several antecedent regiments of the Rifles namely as an Ensign in and later as the CO of the 51st Regt an antecedent regiment of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry [LI] and as a Major in the 60th Royal American an antecedent regiment of the Kings Royal Rifles Corps [RGJ].
His chief legacy was the system of light infantry training that he established at Shorncliffe, where he encouraged development of the values and soldierly skills which The Rifles most prize today. At Shorncliffe he trained the 43rd, 52nd [subsequently the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry] and 95th Rifles [later the Rifle Brigade], regiments that afterwards formed part of the famous Light Division and are antecedent regiments of The Rifles. As an advocate of Light troops, and founder of the Light Infantry, there is no one more deserving of the title, which the Regiment has chosen to bestow on him, of ‘Founding Father of The Rifles’.
Regimental and Association wreaths were lay by Brig DJ Innes (SOFO), WO2 (RQMS) GP Henry (4 Rifles), CSjt A Clarke (7 Rifles) and Mr C Cranwick (KOYLI Regtl Assn), Mr G Driscoll (RGJ Regtl Assn).
A 20 strong party of Rfn and JNCO, on a JNCO’s Leadership & Development course, from 4 Rifles supported the commemorative event as did a small party from 7 Rifles under Capt Henry Willis whose great- great- great grandfather known as “Father” Henry Willis and who, in the 1870’s, altered the Cathedral’s 1690’s organ to its present design and which is regarded as something of a musical and visual coup de théatre i
n one of the most important ecclesiastical buildings in the world