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Archive - Wednesday, 16 February 2005
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Men who paid the ultimate sacrifice
William Rhodes-Moorhouse of Rokeby, who was in the Royal Flying Corps, was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously after being killed in action in the second battle of Ypres, in April 1915.
He flew low over the German lines to drop bombs and carried on, despite being wounded in the thigh, hand and stomach by heavy enemy fire.
Though weak from loss of blood, the lieutenant managed to fly back to his airfield at Estairs. A fitter counted 95 holes in his aircraft, some inflicted by shrapnel from his own bombs, proving that he flew very low. As he was dying the following day, clutching a photo of his baby son, he said: "It's strange dying, unlike anything one has ever done before."
The citation to his Victoria Cross said he displayed conspicuous bravery. The officer, who was educated at Harrow, was aged 27. His son was only a few months old.
Arthur Henderson of Barnard Castle, son of the MP of the same name who represented the Barnard Castle division, was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously after being killed in action in April 1917 at the age of 23.
He was a captain in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.
The citation recorded that during an attack on a German trench he was badly wounded almost immediately, but he continued to lead his company through the enemy front line until he gained his first objective.
Heavy enemy gunfire, combined with bombing attacks, meant he was in danger of being isolated. But by his cheerful courage and coolness he was able to maintain the spirits of his men under the most trying conditions.
Capt Henderson was killed during this action, and the Victoria Cross was awarded three months later.
Patrick Finn, who lived on The Bank, Barnard Castle, became the youngest company sergeant major in the Army before he was killed in May 1918 at the age of 23. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1917 at Illancourt Ridge, when he disregarded his own safety to draw enemy fire away from men of the 9th DLI on to his own position by using dummy soldiers and a tank.
In April 1918, at the Battle of Lys, he was with the 6th DLI, which was retreating and reduced to 100 men.
He took command of his company and led them to safer positions, while putting his own life at risk under heavy shellfire. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
He was awarded a bar to his Military Medal for showing more outstanding gallantry in another heavy action in May 1918 before dying from his wounds.
Company Sergeant Major Finn was buried in La Ville-Bois British war cemetery.
William Bissett, who worked for the Black Prince Motor Company in Barnard Castle before joining the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. He was a lieutenant when awarded the Victoria Cross in January 1917.
Nicholson-Bradford was an old boy of Barnard Castle School. The VC winner was a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy when he showed great gallantry before being killed in a raid on Zeebrugge,in 1918.