Paving slab laid in honour of country’s first Victoria Cross flyer at his former Northamptonshire home

William Rhodes-Moorhouse
William Rhodes-Moorhouse

A paving slab to commemorate the first flyer in the country to be awarded a Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War is to be laid in his home village in Northamptonshire.

William Rhodes-Moorhouse, who lived in Spratton, was in his twenties when he was shot while on a low-flying mission to bomb a French rail line carrying reinforecements to the German line.

Despite his wounds, he still managed to fly his plane back to base in France and file his flight report.

He died the following day, April 26 1915, from his injuries and was awarded the Victoria Cross later than year.

Next Sunday, April 12, local dignitaries will join the Spratton Historical Society in laying a new paving slab in his honour, as part of a recent scheme to remember VC recipients following the centenary of the First World War.

Secretary of the society, Pat Parish, said: “William was a gung-ho character with a love for speed and a passion for cars - at least the few that came out in those days.

“This represents a real landmark for us, so that we can say he lived here.

“At least four descendants of William’s family will be coming up from Cornwall.”

A big turn-out is expected on the day, which will begin with a church service at St Andrew church in Spratton at 2pm, followed by the slab-laying in the Millenium Garden.

Mrs Parish said: “We will then have a two-day commemoration event on April 25-26, the anniversary of his death.

“We will be launching the new book that our chairman Enid Jarvis has written solely about him and revealing all our latest research on the 133 Spratton men that went to the First World War.

“A perfect replica of William’s plane - a BE2 - will also be flying over from Sywell.”