Captain Tom Moore today issued a rallying cry to the nation ahead of the new winter lockdown as he likened the fight against coronavirus to the Battle of Britain.
The centenarian, who in April raised more than £32million for the NHS by walking laps of his Bedfordshire garden, shared the words of encouragement from his home in Marston Moretaine this morning.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast alongside his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, Captain Tom, 100, told those in England not to be discouraged by the latest Covid-19 measures because ‘we are British and we always get through.’
He even likened the ongoing pandemic to the Battle of Britain, when hundreds of fighter pilots defended the UK for months against Nazi Germany’s air force, the Luftwaffe.
Captain Tom Moore (pictured with his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore) today issued a rallying cry to the nation ahead of the new winter lockdown as he likened the fight against coronavirus to the Battle of Britain
Captain Tom said: ‘I remember when we had a very difficult time and it was called the Battle of Britain … but we fought on and the young people and everyone put their shoulders to the wheel and we beat the Battle of Britain.
‘Whatever we’re up against at the moment we shall do exactly the same because remember we are British and we always get through.
‘We don’t get downhearted and we will get on through whatever is thrown at us, and we shall win.’
The Second World War veteran, who was handed the special recognition prize at last night’s Pride of Britain Awards, offered his words of encouragement following Boris Johnson’s announcement of a second national lockdown on Saturday.
Pictured: British Army Captain Tom Moore completes 10 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine in April
Pictured: Boris Johnson announces a second, four-week lockdown for England on Saturday
The Prime Minister said the four-week lockdown, which begins on Thursday, is necessary to prevent a ‘medical and moral disaster’ for the NHS as Covid-19 cases continue to soar.
He said Christmas would be ‘very different’ even after the latest restrictions are lifted on December 2, when regions will ideally go back to the tiered system of lockdown.
Under the latest rules announced for England, pubs, restaurants, gyms and essential shops will be forced to close for four weeks from Thursday.
FROM YORKSHIRE TO INDIA: CAPTAIN TOM MOORE’S MILITARY CAREER
Captain Tom Moore was conscripted into the British Army in June 1940 when he was 20, alongside all men aged 20 to 35.
He began his military career in Otley, West Yorkshire, where he joined the 8th Battalion, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment under Lieutenant Lord George Saville.
The Regiment was sent to train in Wadebridge, Cornwall where they were tasked with coastal defence amid a predicted German invasion.
Pictured: Captain Tom Moore
A young Captain Moore was soon promoted to Corporal and sent to the officer cadet training unit in Droitwich Spa.
Here, he celebrated his 21st birthday after he passed as a Second Lieutenant.
In August 1941, he was sent to the DWR headquarters in Halifax where he joined the 9th Battalion at Winchcombe.
The infantry battalion then converted to an armoured regiment 146th Royal Armoured Corp, though the majority of the soldiers could not drive.
In October, the unit was posted to Bombay, now Mumbai, in India. The journey took six weeks by sea, with a four-day delay in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a four-day stop in Cape Town.
Captain Moore then took a train from Bombay to Poona, before arriving at Kirkee, a town now known as Khadki.
The 9th DWR formed the 50th Indian Tank Brigade under the command of Brigadier Schreiber.
Captain Moore was then asked by the Brigadier to start a motorcycling course for the Brigade due to his expertise for the sport.
The Brigade was then ordered to move to Calcutta – the road journey was in a monsoon and took three weeks.
His Battalion was stationed in the Lohardaga district near Ranchi.
They then took part in two exercises in the Arakan before moving further east and south to Rangoon.
Captain Moore was then sent on a course at the approved vehicle depot in Bovington, England.
He remained here as an instructor until it was closed.
Schools, colleges and universities will, however, remain open.
Mr Johnson will today attempt to head off a mounting Tory revolt against this lockdown by warning Covid-19 deaths this winter could be double the amount of the first wave.
He is expected to use a statement in the Commons to say there is ‘no alternative’ but to impose four weeks of blanket restrictions across England to wrestle down the resurgent virus.
The Prime Minister will move to reassure MPs that he will ‘seek to ease’ curbs and return to the localised tiered system on December 2, following suggestions from Michael Gove yesterday the lockdown could be extended.
Last month, Captain Tom warned a second lockdown could be a ‘disaster’ for older generations, as elderly people would be left without family members to meet up with.
The veteran, who served in Mumbai during the Second World War, said the older population will start to feel ‘lonely’ should tougher coronavirus restrictions return across the country.
He told LBC: ‘I am afraid it would be, let’s just say unpleasant, for older people.
‘It will be very, very difficult because at the moment they are virtually imprisoned in their own premises.’
The grandfather-of-four added: ‘Whilst we continue with the lockdown, people are going to be more and more isolated, for longer and to me, this is going to be very, very bad for old people.’
However, Sir Tom said it wouldn’t just be elderly people impacted by a second national lockdown, declaring it would be a ‘very serious situation for all of us’.
Speaking this week, the Keighley-born man added lockdown must have been ‘very, very difficult’ for those who spent lockdown by themselves.
‘My wife was in hospital for a long time – several years,’ he told The Big Issue.
‘One day she said to me, “If you didn’t come and see me, I would be very lonely”. That struck me right to the heart.
‘But where she was there were also loads of elderly people who never, ever had visitors, day after day, year after year. They must have been very, very lonely on their own.
‘If you’re an old person, virtually housebound, unless you have a good neighbour or a good service who will help, it must be very, very difficult.
‘They might not be old. Disabled people, those who are really short of income, living on the breadline. That is also difficult.
‘We’ve got to look after one another from the beginning to the end.’
Pamela, the Second World War veteran’s spouse of more than 50 years, died in 2006 after developing a form of dementia.
The father-of-two also addressed a year in which he became a household name, penned an autobiography, scored a number one single and was knighted by the Queen.
He said: ‘I mean, before it all started I was just Tom Moore and I’m still the same person.
‘Nothing’s changed. Don’t believe I’m some mystic person. I’m not. I’m still just Tom Moore who’s doing his best, trying to help as much as I can.’
Speaking about his autobiography, he said: ‘I just hope that when people read the book they won’t decide to sue me for some things I’ve said about them.
‘So many things have happened, I don’t know what will surprise people. It surprises me that I’ve written the book at all.’