Personal info

  • Name: William Barnard RHODES-MOORHOUSE
  • D.O.B: 26th September, 1887
  • D.O.A: 26th April, 1915
  • D.O.D: 27th April, 1915
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Second Lieutenant, No 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Over Courtrai, Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium

26 April 1915

More details about:
The First World War 

Following initial German successes in the Second Battle of Ypres and concerned that German reserves were building up around Ghent, on 26 April 1915 GHQ ordered the Royal Flying Corps to disrupt German reinforcements reaching the front line by bombing the enemy’s rail network. No 2 Squadron, based at Merville, west of Armentières, sent four aircraft against three targets, Roubaix, Tourcoing and Courtrai. The railway junction at Courtrai was allotted to Second Lieutenant W B Rhodes-Moorhouse. He took off from Merville at 3.05pm in his biplane, BE 2b, No 687, with a 100 lb bomb, which he had been advised to release at just below cloud level. However, to ensure a direct hit, he descended to 300 feet before doing so, rendering himself vulnerable to ground fire and was hit in the thigh by machine-gun bullets. On the 35 mile flight back, he was hit twice more and his stomach was ripped open. He nevertheless managed to get his aircraft back to base at about 4.12pm. It was found to have 95 bullet and shrapnel holes in its fuselage. Rhodes-Moorhouse died of his wounds the following day.

Citation

 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 for 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. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 21 May 1915. 22 May 1915, Numb. 29170, p. 4990

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