Dorset

World War One Ypres Victoria Cross airman honoured

2nd Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse
Image caption 2nd Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse was wounded in the air during the second battle of Ypres, on 26 April 1915

A stone has been laid at the Ministry of Defence to honour the first serviceman to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in the air.

On Sunday, special events were held in Beaminster, Dorset, where 2nd Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse is buried.

During World War One, he was wounded in the air during the second battle of Ypres, on 26 April 1915. He died the following day.

The stone was unveiled at Whitehall to mark the centenary of his death.

Image caption Special events have also been held in Beaminster, Dorset, where 2nd Lt William Rhodes-Moorhouse is buried

A paving stone, which will form part of the war memorial in Beaminster, was also dedicated during a service at St Mary's Church in the town.

2nd Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse flew 35 miles (56km) back to base following his solo mission, despite having been hit in the thigh and losing three fingers on his right hand.

Image copyright MOD
Image caption The stone was laid outside the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall

He insisted on giving his report before being treated in hospital.

His final words were: "If I'm to die, give me a drink and take my body home." Both his wishes were granted and he is buried on a hilltop in Beaminster.

Douglas Beazer, chairman of the Rhodes-Moorhouse VC Commemorations Group, said: "A month after his death King George V was told the deed that he'd accomplished selflessly and said this man must have the VC."

At the time of his death, 2nd Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse was a member of 2 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, which later became 2 Squadron Royal Air Force.

Image caption A paving stone, which will form part of the war memorial in Beaminster, was also dedicated during a service at St Mary's Church

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