Do You Know…about Cecil Montgomery-Moore, Fighter Pilot, Author and Commanding Officer of the BVE?
By Horst Augustinovic
Raised in Bermuda, Cecil Montgomery-Moore attended the Saltus Grammar School and at the age of 11 joined the Bermuda Cadet Corps and at 16 the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps. In 1917 he was given leave to join the Royal Flying Corps, air wing of the British Army, in Canada. After completing his basic training, he flew Sopwith Dolphin fighters on sorties on the Western Front and was credited with downing three German planes, earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was 19 years old.
Back in Bermuda, ‘Mookie’ as he was known, joined the Bermuda Development Company which had been formed by the Furness Shipping Line, and in 1931 with his friend J.J. O’Brien bought the Godet & Young hardware business. That same year the BVE (Bermuda Volunteer Engineers) was created to replace the departed Royal Engineers and Lieutenant Montgomery-Moore was made second-in-command of the unit. One year later he became its commanding officer. The main object of the BVE was to operate search lights of coastal artillery batteries and provide signals crew and equipment to the Bermuda Garrison.
Having been promoted to Major in 1940, Cecil Montgomery-Moore also headed the Bermuda Flying School at Darrell’s Island, training Bermudian volunteers as pilots for the Royal Air Force. After 1942 the Bermuda Flying School became a recruiting arm of the Royal Canadian Air Force and at the end of the Second World War the BVE was demobilized and while the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps and the Bermuda Militia Artillery maintained skeleton command structures, the BVE was disbanded completely.
In 1968 Peter Kilduff, while writing a series of articles on World War I fliers, showed Major Montgomery-Moore a picture of a Sopwith ‘Dolphin’ of the type he was flying 50 years earlier, the Major immediately recognized the serieal number E.4514 and exclaimed “That’s my bloddy plane!” It became the title of his book.