Birkenhead RSA

Victoria CrossSecond Lieutenant
2 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps
Kortrijk, Belgium - 26 April, 1915

William Rhodes-MoorhouseSecond Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse was born at London of New Zealand parents on 26 September 1887, was 27 years old and a member of the Royal Flying Corps, and when the action for which he was awarded The Victoria Cross took place.

On 26 April 1915 at Kortrijk, Belgium, Second Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse swept low over the rail junction which he had been ordered to attack. He released his 100lb. bomb, but was immediately plunged into a heavy barrage of small arms fire from rifles and machine-gun in the belfry of Kortrijk Church. He was severely wounded by a bullet in his thigh and his plane was also badly hit. Returning to the Allied lines, he again ran into heavy fire from the ground and was wounded twice more. He managed to get his aircraft back, and insisted on making his report before being taken to the Casualty Clearing Station where he died the next day.

The citation from the London Gazette dated 22 May 1915 reads:

"For most conspicuous bravery on 26th April, 1915, in flying to Courtrai and dropping bombs on the railway line near that station. On starting the return journey he was mortally wounded, but succeeded in flying 35 miles to his destination, at a very low altitude, and reported the successful accomplishment of his object. He has since died of his wounds."

View Gazette extract

Second Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse was the first airman to perform an action for which the V.C. was subsequently awarded.

He died on 27 April 1915, at the Merville Casualty Clearing Station, France, and is buried at Parnham House, Dorset, England.

He was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant with effect from 24 April 1915.

His Victoria Cross is held at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London, England.

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