Bill Goodall's War Diaries: 1941/1945

A selection of feedback received by e-mail


From David Beaune, Ontario, Canada - 13-Nov-02. I must tell you that I and my Dad thoroughly enjoyed reading your Father's war-time diary on-line. You must be proud of your Father for the contribution he made to our future. I know, because I too am proud of mine.

My father served in the RCAF and his experiences were very much like your Fathers. He was a Lancaster pilot with 90 squadron and 7 squadron, Pathfinders Force. Shot down on October 6, 1944 he ended up in Stalag Luft 3, Belaria. In fact, he remembers your father being in the same barracks but next room. Stranger still, on page 33 your father refers to an incident with an officer being berated by a German major; that officer was my father! He remembers that like it was yesterday. It truly is a small world.

I have grown up fascinated by my Father's wartime stories. This is a part of history that we must never forget. That 's why it's great that you have it written down to share with others. Happy remembrance day. God Bless.

From Jennie Barton - 8-Nov-02. Hallo! What a strange experience! I have had my Dad's diaries in my possession for a few years. Until today I never thought to cross reference on the net. My Dad's dairy of life in Stalag 3 starts on 21.4.1945 with the words:
'German guards and officers deserted the camp.'

I, too, have the diaries and letters, telegrams etc he wrote and the replies he received. I have now read your father's accounts of the same days leading up to his return to England and like the words written by my Dad find them so moving. I only have the dates and place names of the Forced March and the stories Dad told me.

Suddenly I have a link with someone whose Dad went through the same experiences. I had no idea that sites like yours existed. My Dad was an ordinary man who, through force of circumstance - World War II, went through extra-ordinary events. I still find it hard to equate the gentle, loving, funny man with the man who had to witness and experience the horrors of war.

My Mum died 31.12.91 and dad 12.7.2000 - following an operation but his latter days were also hounded by dementia and strokes. Throughout his wonderful personality shown through, even when he could no longer speak to us. I'm so pleased I found your site.

From Liz Adams
née Rathbone - 15-Jun-02. I am researching the service record of my cousin - Sgt (Pilot) John Desmond Rathbone. The RAF museum at Hendon sent me an excerpt from a book called "The Bomber Command War Diaries" and also a page from their records telling where John died and the fact that he was on a bombing raid to Essen. There were details of other planes that flew on the same raid and details of crew lost or taken prisoner.

I was surfing the net to try and find more information about 620 squadron and found your father's diaries. I remember looking at the entry next but one above John's and noting that the crew included an Adams and a Goodall ( my husband's mother's name) . Then when I saw the diaries I realised the Goodall was your father and that he and my cousin were on the same raid.

I think I remember my mum saying that John trained in Canada so was very interested to read the sections on the training period in the diary. I wonder if they trained together? John was not an officer so may not have come into contact with your father very much.
I am posting off an application to RAF Innsworth today, to see if they will release John's service records to me. I don't know if I qualify as next of kin being only a cousin, but I am the only Rathbone still alive (bar another cousin, with whom I've no contact) so am hoping they will send them to me.

John is buried at the Rheinberg cemetery in Germany. No-one has ever visited his grave, but I hope to do so next year.

From Margaret Pidgeon, London, Ontario - 10-Jan-02. Mr. Goodall - I found your father's diary fascinating reading - most particularly because the Charles Hollins mentioned as a companion of your father during his training in the southern U.S. was my father. Reading this portion of the diaries gave a fresh insight into a part of dad's life of which he had many fond memories. In his latter years he often reminisced about this period of his life. Dad continued through the war as a bomber pilot and returned to being a policeman when the war ended. He died in 1994.

During the '80's he re-established contact with Monk Wright (then in his eighties) for a short period of time. A British woman vacationing in Florida had got into conversation with an elderly gentleman on the sea front. He told her about the British airmen he had befriended during the war. She took dad's name and managed to track him down through the Police Association and a couple of letters were exchanged. Did your father maintain contact with them? Do you know if our fathers ever made contact after the war? My sister says that there is an old address for Alec Flett in my mother's address book so I imagine dad must have been in contact with him at some point.

My sister has a photo of your dad, Alec Flett and my dad taken in a portrait studio in Auburn, December 7, 1941. You may have a copy of this but if you don't and are interested, she will find someone to scan it into an e-mail to you. Thank you so much for publishing the excerpts from the diaries - it was like having a visit with dad!

From Howard Florence - 19-Dec-01. I hope you don't mind me contacting you. After reading the dairy I feel compelled to contact you. As I had the thought to initially type in "Parsonage Road Rickmansworth" on a whim I saw "Ridgeway" the house I was born in October 1961 and my sister in March 1969 and to think of the incredible story that unfolds before my eyes. It's incredible congratulations. I hope you dont mind if I print off the dairy to show my mother.

When I was young and living in Ridgeway "19 Parsonage Road" we had a visit from a man. I was in the front garden and he asked me if he could speak to my mother or father. Well, as things turned out, he said that the house was owned by a man who was Winston Churchill's right hand man.Somthing to do with the map room in the "war office" so we presumed. Would this be somthing to do with Bill, we would love to find out.

 Some feedback from readers of Bill Goodall's War Diaries

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