William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    RHODES-MOORHOUSE, William Barnard (1887-1915) b. London, part-Maori The first airman to win the Victoria Cross, he legally adopted the name Rhodes-Moorhouse.

    After requesting to fly on active duty, Rhodes-Moorhouse was posted to France and in April 1915, in a B-E 26 biplane, attacked a key railway junction at Courtrai. He scored a direct hit with a 100-lb bomb after being hit in the stomach by a bullet during his approach, was hit again in the leg and the hand as he checked the extent of the damage, and flew back to his base through heavy ground fire aimed at his slow and low-flying aircraft, determined not to land behind German lines. He was cheered by Indian troops as he flew his battered biplane back behind the British frontline. He died of wounds the next day, and was awarded the VC posthumously for what the British Commander, General Sir John French, then called 'the most important bomb dropped in the war so far'. Rhodes-Moorhouse left an infant son who died fighting in the Battle of Britain 23 years later. They are buried side by side on a hill near the family home in Dorset.

    Annie :)
  2. scrimnet

    scrimnet New Member

    Re: Here's a Familiar Name


    Another Northampton lad....:)
  3. scrimnet

    scrimnet New Member

    Re: Here's a Familiar Name

    The bomb was dropped at the mad height of 300 feet, and he came back over the German lines at under 100...

    He lived at Spratton Grange near Northampton and was well known in the area, landing the first aircraft in Northampton, on the Racecourse...He was friends with the other great Northamptonian of the war, England, Barbarians, East Midlands and Saints rugby captain, Lt Col Edgar Mobbs
  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Re: Here's a Familiar Name

    Did you know him then ?? :rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

  5. scrimnet

    scrimnet New Member

    Re: Here's a Familiar Name

    His reputation in the county goeth before him...

    I have lectured on him in the actual village of Spratton...

    Don't forget...I'm not as old as you!:p
  6. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Re: Here's a Familiar Name

    I always think that Rhodes-Moorhouse's VC was one of the best deserved of them all.

    Some bright spark reckoned that the German advance could be slowed by dropping a single bomb on the railtrack in the middle of Courtrai. (Why in the middle of the town? If bombing the railtrack would help at all, it would be just as effective in the countryside away from German return fire).

    Anyway, R-M had all night to reflect on the fact that he was going to have to fly at rooftop height at 60 mph over a town full of German troops, and it was known that there was a machine gun in the church tower. These days if the RAF go in that low, they would be doing 600 mph. R-M knew he had very little chance of survival, and he must have thought of his two year-old son, but he went anyway.

    He was hit in the hand, leg and stomach; amazingly he managed to get back to his aerodrome. They say there was blood dripping from the tail of the aircraft as he landed.

    By the way, there is a replica of his BE2b (not B-E 26, Annie) in the RAF Museum at Hendon.
  7. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Just as an aside .................. I read that somebody had some information on the woman who was the governess in their home in Spratton Northamptonshire - one Emily Wilding Davison better known as the suffragette who interupted the race at Epsom.

    Emily Wilding Davison


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