I was chatting to a bloke at work the other day and he dug out some interesting information about this ‘Barnstormer’. Further research on the good old internet brought back some interesting information. Ive tried to tie it together in an informative way from various sources. I hope you enjoy this little spot of history.
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, Edward Moorhouse, was English, his mother, Mary Ann Rhodes, was Maori.
Edward and Mary Ann left NZ shortly after their marriage and moved to England, where they settled and raised 4 children. William Moorhouse, the second child was born in London in 1887.
His father tried to interest him in horses and hunting but he hated riding. As a small boy Will became mad about machines of all kinds though he was particularly keen on steam engines and locomotive sets purchased from the Basset-Lowke factory in Northampton. He was a natural mechanic but never shone at school; he left Harrow needing to attend a crammer before going up to Cambridge University where he never quite fitted in. Will had begun his craze for speed on motorcycles but then he and his student friends raced cars on the open road and he became expert at sliding and skid braking: he could skid right into his garage judging it to a matter of inches. He said his time at . . . → Read More: William Rhodes-Moorhouse VC