T. G. H. Moore, JP, CP
It is with the deepest sense of regret that we record the passing of T. G. Moore, Tom to his friends, and T.G.M. to MOTOR SPORT, which he owned from 1929 until he parted with it to the present Proprietor at the end of 1936. It must be made clear that this relinquishing of the journal was not an indication that fast cars had become of diminishing interest to T.G.M.; it came about because he had left England for America in some haste, on the wings of romance. This may have appeared impetuous at the time but was subsequently fully justified, in the eyes of those who met Tom’s charming wife! And what woman would not be flattered by a man who was prepared to forsake even his Motoring interests to pursue her . . .
T. G. Moore was an avid enthusiast for fast machinery long before this episode. He went to the 1926 Olympia Motor Show and bought a new 3-litre Bentley, having decided that this was the most practical sporting car then available. He followed it with a 4½-litre open Bentley which he used to good effect in the Inter-‘Varsity speed-trials while he was up at Oxford. He also rode an old P & M motorcycle in these events and later a Rudge. When he took over MOTOR SPORT he owned a chain-driven Frazer Nash which he drove in short and long-distance races at Brooklands. T.G.M. was a very wealthy and influential resident in the Isle of Man and no doubt he bought the paper more as a hobby, and for the interests and advantages associated with it, than as a business. Indeed, he probably spent a great deal of his own money keeping it alive. He was a regular attender at Brooklands and Donington, having an office in the Paddock at the Weybridge Track, and he liked to get to Monaco, the French GP and Le Mans. He wrote his own race reports and was assisted editorially by some remarkable people, of the calibre of Braidwood, Fellowes, Walkerley, the Nockolds brothers, etc. In those times the going was less hectic and T.G.M., knowing most of the drivers, was often able to scoop some exciting news, such as the arrival on these shores of a new Maserati, what was happening at the Bugatti factory, or which racing cars were changing owners, etc.
He also took part in four Monte Carlo rallies, at a time when this was high adventure, starting from wintry places behind the Iron Curtain. In 1933 he went in the special 4½-litre Invicta with Donald Healey, in 1934 in Lord de Clifford’s open 4½-litre Lagonda, in 1935 in an equally spartan AC, and in 1936 in another 4½-litre Lagonda. By thus gaining first-hand experience of this tough event, on “recces” beforehand as well as competing, T.G.M. was able subsequently to treat his readers to excellent reports, laced with valuable hints and tips for future competitors.
T. G. Moore, who died at the age of 69, was educated at King William’s College and New College, Oxford. The Moore family had lived at Billown for generations and T.G.M. took an active interest in the public life of the Island, serving on the Board of Education, as a JP and being a member of the Board of Traffic Commissioners. After the war, in which he was transferred from the Manx Regiment to the Intelligence Corps, being posted to Persia and Iraq with the rank of Captain, he was the Member for Rushen, in the House of Keys, from 1946 to 1951, but did not seek re-election. Mr. Moore had many other interests, including being Churchwarden of Malew Church and a member of the Parochial Church Council.
As I have said, T.O.M. was a rich man, with estates at Ballasalla and in N. Zealand. Like many well-endowed persons he had an amusingly frugal side to his nature. I remember how he used to bring us pictures he had taken at post-war races, the negatives of which showed that light was leaking into his aged camera. We offered to have repairs done, at a cost of a few shillings. T.G.M. refused, on the grounds of unnecessary expense; while he made this weighty decision his taxi outside the MOTOR SPORT offices was ticking up such a large sum on the meter that the cabby was under the impression that his fare had deserted! T.G.M. also showed that he was more aware of what was going on in the Victoria Street offices, from which he ran his paper, than his quiet demeanour suggested. On one occasion he had sacked someone and another member of the small staff remarked to T.G.M. that he thought the expelled one had taken revenge, by pinching the office camera. “It won’t do him much good”, retorted T.G.M. with his characteristic hesitance, “I removed the lens from it last night”. I had reason to know of Tom’s very considerable influence in the IoM when I was flown out there to report the first post-war car race. The young photographer (M.J.T., who now looks after the production side of MOTOR SPORT and Motoring News) and I had intended to claim Track passes from the Clubhouse, after dinner at our hotel. But before the meal was finished T.G.M. rang me to know if all was well and, told of our intentions, said that wouldn’t be necessary. He would introduce us to the Police Chief and we would be allowed to go anywhere we liked. It was so, and we had the impression that, had we wanted to cross the course while the race was in progress, it would have been stopped immediately for us to do so!
T.G.M. loved cars of all ages, so under his control MOTOR SPORT instituted its wide-ranging coverage of vehicles old and new, which we have since developed. After the war he reported some of the early Continental races for us, when the big Darracqs and Delahayes that he so admired were contenders; he also wrote of the satisfaction he was getting from a 2½-litre Riley d.h. coupe, which should please members of the present Riley RM Register.
In recent times T.G.M. had begun to put down his recollections of the old days, writing a very entertaining article for the Chain Gang Gazette, and letters to me when some reference in these pages sparked off memories of personalities he had known. Had he lived a little longer we would have had from him a special contribution to next month’s 50th Anniversary issue of MOTOR SPORT. Alas, it was not to be. I last saw T.G.M. when he came to Standard House to have his 1974 issues bound and he told me of the Type 35A Bugatti, the Type 55 Frazer Nash-BMW, a Villiers-P & M motorcycle, and a Rotavator, with which varied machinery he and his son were keeping their hands in . . . .
It is so sad that this modest enthusiast and keenest of amateur competitors is dead, that never again can we enjoy his dry wit and great knowledge of the game he loved, and about which he used to write such pungent Editorials if he felt that matters in the racing world were unfair, unjust or undesirable. To his wife, sons and ‘daughter, we extend our heartfelt condolences.—W.B.
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