Log In

Reset Password

Captain John W. Moore (1939-2024): master mariner

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
Captain John Moore (Photograph supplied)

Devoted to seafaring, with a seemingly photographic memory for the details of the ships he encountered, he spent nearly 30 years of his life on land in the Bermuda Reserve Police, including 12 years as commandant.

Captain John Moore, who also worked closely with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and spent four years serving on the Bermuda Government Ports Authority, never strayed far from the ocean.

His career with Meyer Shipping began in 1968, with Mr Moore becoming vice-president of marine operations until he stepped down in 2011.

Mr Moore remained with the company, attending his final Meyer board meeting on March 12.

He was so quintessentially nautical that Meyer staff in later years knew him affectionately as “the old man of the sea”.

Captain John Moore (Photograph supplied)

Elizabeth, his wife, said that while Mr Moore had been born in the small town of Kirkland Lake in Ontario, the family moved to Trinidad followed by neutral Venezuela during the Second World War.

His father was a mining safety engineer in Canada, switching jobs in the move south to the petroleum business.

Venezuela’s formidable oil industry centred on the giant brackish Lake Maracaibo, dubbed “the oil lake”.

The lake, which opens on to the Gulf of Venezuela, is a major shipping hub.

Mrs Moore said: “John worked on boats in the summers on Lake Maracaibo, and that’s where he said his love of boats and the sea began.

“John had to be near the sea, even when we went on holiday. I never knew anyone who liked the sea so much.

“I’m surprised that he came ashore — and I’m glad that he did.”

Mr Moore was drawn to the military, and graduated from a South Carolina military academy in 1959.

He then attended Tri-State College in Indiana, intent on following in his father’s footsteps as an engineer.

However, the maritime life beckoned.

Captain John Moore (File photograph)

Mr Moore switched courses, graduating from the cadet programme at Warsash Maritime Academy in England.

It was followed by Nova Scotia Navigation College in Canada, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in marine transportation.

Mr Moore obtained his captain’s certificate sailing with Imperial Oil from 1961.

Mrs Moore said his big break came working on the Golden Crest, a 187ft luxury yacht owned by Robert Wood “General” Johnson, of the healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson.

“He said it was his best job ever. It went all over the world, wherever Johnson & Johnson had factories.”

Mr Johnson died in January 1968, and the Golden Crest, which was registered in Bermuda, came to the island that February for its future to be settled.

Meyer were the agents for the yacht.

Mr Moore’s skills caught the attention of J. Henry Hayward, of Meyer, who promptly hired him to the shipping side of the company.

The Golden Crest was moored at St George’s. Mr Moore came ashore that May and almost immediately met his future wife.

They were married in February 1969.

Mr Moore worked his way up the ranks at Meyer, joining the Meyer Agency board in 1975.

He also joined Bermuda's Reserve Constabulary in 1971.

Mrs Moore said: “John always wanted to give back to the community. He liked the military and the police, and my stepfather was with the police service in Bermuda.

“He used to chat about it to John and that might have piqued his interest.”

Mr Moore was promoted through the ranks from sergeant in 1974, inspector in 1975, chief inspector in 1980, superintendent in 1981, deputy commandant in 1987 and commandant that same year.

During his early years, much of Mr Moore's service was performed in the Eastern area, but on reaching the rank of superintendent, he assumed island-wide responsibility.

Mr Moore was awarded the Colonial Special Constabulary Medal in 1986, and the Colonial Police Medal in 1992.

He retired in 1999, to be succeeded by Eugene Vickers.

Mr Moore told The Royal Gazette: “I've given 28 years of service to the Crown and the people of Bermuda — and I wish it could be more.

“It wasn't an easy decision. I think the Bermuda Reserve Police is the finest service organisation in Bermuda and I'm very proud to have been a member.”

Mrs Moore said: “I think he was quite instrumental in making some changes.”

The name changed from the Bermuda Reserve Constabulary to Reserve Police, and the uniforms switched over to police uniforms during Mr Moore’s tenure.

Mr Moore maintained his captain’s certificate by sailing regularly, including on new cruise ships headed to Bermuda.

Although Mrs Moore said she initially got seasick, she grew to love the ocean alongside her husband.

The two used nautical terminology in their home, and went out on their own 18ft sailboat.

Mrs Moore added: “He had a boundless knowledge of ships — the name, where they were built, where they were sailed. It was amazing.

“John could relate to anybody. He loved people. Family for sure trumped everything — he lived for his family. He was a generous, loving man.”

The couple had a daughter, Susan.

Mr Moore was happily surprised to receive his service award from Bios, Mrs Moore added.

“He enjoyed working with ships and their crew. If people were seafarers, he was that much happier.”

Mr Moore especially enjoyed meeting the legendary French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau when he called on Bermuda.

Cheryl Hayward-Chew, president and chief executive of the Meyer Group of Companies, described Mr Moore as a classic “salty older gentleman” who prided himself on maintaining his captain’s designation.

His elaborate nautical map of Bermuda, detailing wrecks around the island, hangs in the company’s meeting room.

Ms Hayward-Chew recalled Mr Moore capably heading the “huge operation” when the Celebrity Cruise Lines vessel Horizon contended with an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

She said Mr Moore played a key part in getting the Horizon and its sister ship Zenith built for Bermuda.

She added: “He was one of those people who continued to do what he loved to do. To him, it wasn’t work, although it kept him busy.

“We often say that Meyer is a family, and he was very much the Meyer family.”

Mr Moore shared his shipping knowledge as a consultant for Bios since the 1970s, when it was known as the Bermuda Biological Station for Research.

He served as second officer on the Bios research ships Weatherbird, Weatherbird II and the Atlantic Explorer.

In 2020, the Bios trustees unanimously bestowed the Richard Gorham Award on Mr Moore for his “long and valued support and extraordinary service”.

• Captain John Willard Moore, a mariner and police reserve commandant, was born on July 31, 1939. He died in March 2024, aged 84.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published April 02, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated April 02, 2024 at 7:59 am)

Captain John W. Moore (1939-2024): master mariner

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon