Sir Patrick Moore died peacefully today. Born 4 March 1923 – died 9 December 2012.
Sir Patrick Moore joined the RAF in World War II at the age of sixteen, and from 1940 until 1945 he served as a navigator in RAF Bomber Command, reaching the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
He first received his flying training in Canada, during which time he met Albert Einstein and Orville Wright while on leave in New York.
He had a “rather interesting war”, with reliable rumours of his derring-do including how as a Flight Lieutenant, he once climbed over the dead bodies of his pilot and co-pilot to land his Lancaster bomber safely. Then there is talk of a distinguished career in intelligence.
Sir Patrick, who suffered from a spinal injury sustained in the war which flared up a decade ago, also insisted he would keep a promise to his Group Captain to never speak of his battle record and maintained his history would remain a secret.
The war had a significant influence on his life: his only romance ended when his fiancée, a nurse called Lorna, was killed by a bomb which struck her ambulance. Moore subsequently remarked that he never married because "there was no one else for me ... second best is no good for me ... I would have liked a wife and family, but it was not to be."
In his autobiography he stated that after sixty years he still thought about her, and that because of her death "if I saw the entire German nation sinking into the sea, I could be relied upon to help push it down."
After the war, Sir Patrick became renowned for Astronomy, and the longest serving TV show 'The Sky At Night'.
He was influential in pro-Sovereignty circles, being well aware of the threat the European Union posed to British independence, as well as Germany's role and intentions.
He said in April this year;
"We must take care. There may be another war. The Germans will try again, given another chance. A Kraut is a Kraut is a Kraut. And the only good Kraut is a dead Kraut.
A German general said to me at the end of the war, “You won two wars. You won’t win the third. And that’s the economic war.” I hope he’s wrong."
He admitted there "can be good, free, honourable, decent Germans" only to add: "I haven’t met them myself, but I’m sure they exist."
In 1945, Moore was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society; in 1977 he was awarded the Society's Jackson-Gwilt Medal. In 1968, he was appointed OBE and promoted to CBE in 1988. In 1999 Moore became the Honorary President of the East Sussex Astronomical Society, a position which he held until his death. In 2001, he was knighted for "services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting". In the same year, he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society, the only amateur astronomer ever to achieve this distinction. In June 2002, he was appointed as Hon. Vice President of the Society for the History of Astronomy. Also in 2002, Buzz Aldrin presented Moore a BAFTA for services to television.
Will be greatly missed.