Trooper Keith S. Moore of the 28th Canadian Armoured Regiment (British Columbian Regiment) Canadian Armoured Corps., celebrated his 96th birthday on October 28. A few days earlier, he shared an account of his military service during WWII. Moore volunteered for the Canadian Army over seven decades ago.
Following a significant stint working at the Tranquille TB Sanatorium in Kamloops and more briefly at the Gang Ranch, the young Moore volunteered with a buddy, and signed up for the army in August 1942. They received a couple of month’s basic training in Vernon before being shipped off to Camp Borden, Ontario for another year of training. Moore was trained “on map reading and using Bren Gun Carriers, small track vehicles with no tops, and machine guns mounted on a swivel frame.” A gunner operator, he was also required to operate the radio. He stayed for several more months to help train others in radio communications including officers just out of officer training college. He eventually volunteered to help fill vacancies in the ranks of the 16/22 Saskatchewan Horse Regiment. He was shipped off to England where he spent another year training in war maneuvers in England and Scotland.
Over the course of his career, he recalls spending time in England, France, Germany and Italy. His role as a gunner operator involved loading the guns and communicating on the radio between the tank and regiment.
Upon reflection, Moore says “there were good times and bad.” As someone that went to the front and survived and was able to return home, Moore considers himself “very lucky.”
In 2013, Moore was nominated and awarded a medal for the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France which in effect makes him a ‘knight.”
What follows is the narrative that garnered the award from France:
Trooper Moore, an “A” Squadron member of an M4A2 Sherman tank crew, landed at Gold Beach, Mulberry B. (Port Winston) Arromanche, Normandy on 27 July 1944. The Regiment moved to Ryes, the location where the 4th Armoured Division mustered. The Regiment then moved to Mondeville south east of Caen prior to participation in Operation Totalize. 08/09 August 1944. The move through Ifs/Verrier area took the regiment to its laager, just north of Cintheaux on Route N158. In the early morning hours of 09 Aug 1944, enroute to Hill 195 objective, Lieutenant Harvey McDairmid, Trooper Moore’s Troop Commander, had his tank knocked out. McDairmid switched crews leaving Trooper Moore’s tank crew out of battle (LOB) during Operation Totalize.
Trooper Moore was assigned to another tank for Operation Tractible, the advance to Falaise, 14 August 1944. Trooper Moore, reassigned as a member of a new tank, was engaged in action during the attack across the Liason River onward through Olendon, Epancy, Trun and closing the Falaise Gap. On 23 August 1944 near Les Essarts, during the rout of the remnants of the German Army to the River Seine, Trooper Moore’s tank was hit with an 88 mm projectile immobilizing the track. A second hit caused on board ammunition to explode setting Moore’s pants on fire. Unwounded, he bailed out of the tank and was able to extinguish the fire on his clothing. Since no additional tanks were available at this time, he was assigned to the Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant Major, through France to Belgium where he was reassigned to tank troop.
Trooper Moore, a 21 year old Canadian, volunteered to join the army to help defeat Nazi tyranny; returning peace and freedom to the peoples of Europe.
Signed Lt Col (Ret’d) Archie M. Steacy, CD
Moore offers more detailed accounts of his military service in his auto-biography penned in 2013. Not only was he moved around quite a bit, his wartime experience was varied and never dull. Upon his eventual return home (discharged March 8, 1946), he found work and started a family living at Blucher Hall near Agate/Squam Bay.
He was a founding member of the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Barriere which he helped establish in 1953. Moore has served in various capacities on the executive over the years, twice as president. He also participated in the executive of both the Revelstoke and Sicamous branches when living in those two communities. Eventually he and his late wife, Eleanore, retired to Barriere where he resides today.
Still an active member of the Legion, Moore attends the weekly meat draw which raises funds for the community. He’s happy to see the legion evolve into an organization that is open to all community members interested in supporting veterans and their causes. He participates every year in the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Barriere and for the last five has been on the receiving end of the salute.
Moore’s stature in the community is significant above and beyond his background and reputation as a veteran. He helped establish the first ambulance service with the help of the Lions Club and served as Fire Chief at one point due to his training at Tranquille. Despite being a humble man, Moore was named Barriere’s Citizen of the Year in 2012 and also received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, his contributions and accomplishments not going unnoticed.
This father of four plus four step-children, and now numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, has had a long and colourful life. He has worked as a logger, a farmer, a millwright amongst other things. His military service was a relatively brief part of his life but his connection to that profound experience weaves through his entire life. Several years ago Moore returned to France with 30 or 40 members of his old regiment. Each honour and every Remembrance Day ceremony reinforces Moore’s good fortune. When asked if he had a hard time returning home from the war, Moore said “No, I just felt very lucky. I found work, got married and started my family.” The rest is, as they say, history — or as Sir Keith Moore remembers it, “another chapter in the life of Keith Moore.” Very lucky indeed.
Happy 96th, Sir!