As ANZAC Day 2020 approaches, it is timely to revisit the life of William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse (Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Ruanui) and honour not just his distinction as the first Māori airman, but also as the first British airman to receive the award of Victoria Cross for his bravery in World War I.
Born in 1887 in Britain, Rhodes-Moorhouse and his siblings did not learn of their Māori ancestry, through his mother Mary Ann Rhodes, until 1908. Sadly, William Barnard died on 27 April 1915 after receiving horrific injuries during a successful bombing mission. However, his wife Linda, and son William Henry, followed in his footsteps and both developed a passion for flying and gained their pilot licenses in 1931.
William Barnard’s son, William Henry, joined the 601 “Millionaires” Squadron at the outbreak of World War II and received a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in July 1940. Sadly, he died later that year after being shot down over the English town of Tunbridge Wells.
Learn more about William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse, and his brave and fascinating family, in the document below. You will also find links to further articles, a film, and a documentary.