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Sir Patrick Moore

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Died today aged 89 :( 

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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RIP, a great man.

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A true British eccentric.

The BBC says:

"When war came he turned down a place at Cambridge and lied about his age to join the RAF, serving as a navigator with Bomber Command and rising to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

His RAF experiences, which included a visit to the Dachau concentration camp, left him a bitter opponent of war.

His fiancee, Lorna, was killed when an ambulance she was driving was hit by a bomb. He never married.

He presented The Sky At Night for five decades.

"That was it," he said. "There was no one else for me. Second best is no good for me. I would have liked a wife and family, but it was not to be."

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It obviously affected him greatly, losing his fiancée. As you would expect.

But, 70 years on and he was still very bitter. I wont post what he actually said in a Radiotimes interview but it did illustrate how much he was hurt and scarred by this loss.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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He has been looking really quite ill for some time.

I said that to my wife a fortnight ago whilst watching TSAN. His speech seemed very slered as if recovering from a stroke (well thats what I thought anyway)

I can't think of a single presenter who had fronted a programme for longer than Patrick Moore did.

As a school boy I was so taken with TSAN programme, and at the age of 10, I addressed a letter to Patrick Moore and just put BBC Television on the envelope and posted it. Some months later I was surprised to not only find he received my letter but took the time to write back to me (hand written letter) and also enclosed was a detailed large map of the moon poster that adorned my bedroom wall for some years.

In the late 70's we had only just finished visiting the moon, but a line in that letter to me he said "I'm sure men will live on the moon before we reach the year 2000" - I have never forgotten that line in the letter and just goes to show how little we have progressed since the early 70's.


Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk - that will teach us to keep mouth shut!

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Yesterday morning I was watching the latest edition of the Sky at Night, which I had recorded earlier. In common with everyone else I had noticed Sir Patrick deteriorating over the past months, although he pressed on regardless as Bomber Command were wont to do. At the end of the programme they were discussing the latest solar eclipse, and Sir Patrick said he would have liked to have seen it......Chris Lintott leant forward, took his hand and said "Next time, Patrick, next time..." It was a very poignant moment.


Then I went online and saw that he had died. Another one of life's coincidences.... A truly great patriot, character, and man...the archetype English amateur, as he held no qualifications in astronomy but was an auto didact who's work was used by the professionals, especially when it came to the Moon.


At the start of WW2 he lied about his age and managed to get a chum to do the medical in his place, joined aged 16 and was flying as a Pilot Officer Navigator in Lancasters. On one mission I believe he had to fly the aeroplane back after both the pilot and the flight engineer wer rendered hors de combat by enemy action...later on it seems he had something to do with Intelligence. Apart from the occasional bow tie when demanded by the occasion, his RAF Navigator's tie was the only one he ever appeared in. 

I remember that, during the BBC coverage of the Apollo 11 mission, he said to the presenter James Burke that if there was any hiatus in what was going on, all he had to do was hand over to Patrick and he'd start talking...and stop when something else happened! Such was the depth of his knowledge, he could do this.....they don't make them like that any more.  

Edited by molemot

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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Never mind saving the Pound, we all need to keep in mind the tradition of Great British Eccentrics. So many greats have gone...Dr. Magnus Pyke, Vivian Stanshall, Graham Chapman, Keith Moon, Margaret Rutherford, Kenneth Williams to name but a few...and today (arguably) sadly, Dr. Alex Moulton.

Every day every person needs to think-"what can I personally do that is different  from other people ?" Perhaps drive a hovercraft to work, only holiday in the Scilly Isles, keep geckos as pets etc...  that is the way forward ! 

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sad loss, may he rest in peace.


Inspired a generation or 2 if you ask me.


Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed. : Albert Einstein

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I used to love watching him when I was a kid, sad day for astronomy and space in general.

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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The wife and I were discussing him the day before he passed away. My wife's sister had the pleasure of visiting him at his home and after tea he entertained them with his violin, an instrument he was very accomplished at playing.


A very sad loss to the World.


As you say, no Country turns out more eccentrics that the U,K.. May I add Hattie Jacques, Spike Milligan, Barbara Woodhouse, Stephen Fry, Ronald Atkinson.


In the words of Cecil John Rhodes - To be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life. But I am biased.

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I certainly agree with your list Roger, save for Big Ron (as I believe the drive and narrowness of focus necessary for sporting success and eccentricity to be pretty much mutually exclusive, with notable exceptions-Harvey Smith, Eddie "the Eagle"??) . I think the key to understanding specifically English eccentricity is the historically-nurtured cult of "amateurism" that has had a remarkably unbroken cultural history in Britain for years before the great Statesman Benjamin Franklin flew his kite in a storm to find out if lightning was electricity - that you can "have a go" at anything with relatively little social (as opposed to economic) pressure to conform- and Patrick Moore had no formal scientific / astronomical qualifications.

I am sure that in 50 years time some admittedly rather dodgy politician will be saying "to be born Brazilian/Indian/Chinese will be to win first prize in the lottery of life"-but they may well be right.    

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