2Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse, first RFC VC
Photo courtesy of the website:
Photos of the Great War


     Using the Google search engine on "William Rhodes-Moorhouse", (9-27-07), you will find about 290 links. If you use the form "William Rhodes-Moorehouse" +aviation, you will still find 109 links. One of the most useful is the following.
William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse VC
awarded the first Victoria Cross in the air
     This entry, on the website of The Air League, offers a very complete and fascinating story of his life and career. It is an ideal place to start your study of his contributions to the development of British aviation. You can access the site by clicking on the title above
     While there, you should go to the homepage and browse the entire site. You can access it by clicking on:
The Air League

The First Air VC by Fred Howell
     This article begins with the statement:

"It is not generally known that the first man to be awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry whilst engaged on air operations was of Maori descent His father was English, his mother Maori. He was Lieutenant Rhodes Moorhouse of the Royal flying Corps. He is depicted on a cigarette card no.120 War Series L, issued by Murray Sons & Co. Ltd, in 1916."

     He goes on to discuss his family relations in some detail. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Via email from Malcolm Begg - 12-18-03
     William Rhodes Moorhouse was the first person to land a plane in Cambridge (he went to the university), but I cannot remember the year. I think it was around 1909,10 or 11. Do you know?

Via email from Gordon McLauchlan, 1-6-05
Dear Ralph:
      I am a professional writer and plan to start a biography of airman William Barnard Rhodes Moorhouse at the beginning of 2006.
      He was the son of a Yorkshireman, one of five brothers who came to New Zealand and made their fortunes in the 19th century. I can easily enough research this end but I wonder if you can help me make a connection with the present members of the family -- the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the airman?
Sincere regards
Gordon McLauchlan
22/66-70 Emily Place
Auckland 1015
New Zealand.
Editor's Note: If you can help Gordon with his research, please contact us. I will forward your message to his email address. Thank you.

Via email from Dorothy Pollock, 3-30-05
      I have no information on William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse per se BUT I have 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.
      I am curious about the move to Parnham House and whether or not it was one of the reasons that Emily changed Employers in and about 1903, opting to work for the Layland-Barratt family of Devon/Cornwall/Norfolk..
      I am also curious about the politics of the Moorhouse family: New Zealand had the vote in 1893 and many of Mary Ann Moorhouse's relatives appeared in the 1893 election roll. However, I wonder if you have a sense of whether this was a liberal (L) or conservative(C) family?
Dorothy Pollock,
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada

Via email from Jo Pikia, 7-14-07
Kia ora Ralph,
     I am writing on behalf of my uncle who has a strong interest in finding the identity of Mary Ann Rhodes's mother (Rhodes-Moorehouse's grandmother). It is well documented that she is of Maori descent but we have found nothing to identify where she is from and/or her tribal links.
     From what we have read and understand, Mary Ann's father (William Barnard Rhodes) was still married to his first wife when her mother was given to her father as a gift of respect by her own father. This union then produced Mary Ann who was William Barnard Rhodes only child.
     References have indicated that the family did eventually find out who she was and her whakapapa (genealogy) but it is not documented anywhere.
     My uncle has a strong feeling/suspicion that Rhodes-Moorhouse's grandmother is closely related to him, mainly because of childhood stories he was told of a woman (in his family) who was given to a working man and taken south; but that is all he knows.
     Are you able to provide more information that will help my uncle identify William Rhodes-Moorehouse's grandmother and their tribal links.
Kind regards
Jo Pikia

PO Box 24083

A complete record of his death and burial may be found on the
CWGC, Commonwealth War Graves Commission website by clicking on:
Debt of Honour Register
He is buried by the side of his son in a private cemetery at Parnham House. The son's entry can be found by clicking on:
William Henry Rhodes-Moorhouse

These links were provided through the kind courtesy of
Brian Tomkins of Parnham House.

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on his life or his career,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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