The 212th Anniversary
The anniversary of the death of Sir John Moore (Nov 1761- Jan 1809) at the Battle of Corunna, Northern Spain, is traditionally remembered by a Rifles and forming and antecedent Regts wreath laying ceremony at the Sir John Moore memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, after Evensong on the day nearest to the anniversary.
This year, unfortunately, the COVID-19 restrictions prevented us assembling in St Paul’s and laying our respective regimental wreaths.
Fortunately, the Treasurer of St Paul’s, the Reverend Canon Jonathan Brewster, was able to enter the Cathedral and lay the KOYLI, Rifles and Oxf & Bucks wreaths on our behalf at the memorial of Sir John Moore.
Sir John Moore
Sir John Moore joined the British Army in 1776 as an ensign in the 51st Regiment of Foot then based in Menorca. He first saw action in 1778 during the American War of Independence as a lieutenant in the 82nd Regiment of Foot, which was raised in Lanarkshire for service in North America by the 8th Duke of Hamilton.
In 1787, he was made Major and joined the 60th briefly before returning to the 51st. In 1791 his unit was assigned to the Mediterranean and he was involved in campaigning in the invasion of Corsica and was wounded at Calvi.
After extensive service in Ireland, Egypt and the Low Countries Moore was charged with organising the defences of the English south coast against a possible French invasion. It was on his initiative that the Martello Towers were constructed, and a militia raised. He also initiated the cutting of the Royal Military Canal in Kent and Sussex. It was during this period that Moore established a training camp at Shorncliffe in Kent where light infantry tactics were taught to selected units including the 43rd, 52nd and 95th Rifles, the regiments that afterwards formed part of the famous Light Division and are antecedent regiments of The Rifles.