Date: 06/07th June 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Location: 9 km. North West Dokkum, Holland
Pilot: F/O. 'Buck' N.L. Tayler 47819 RAFVR PoW No: 560 Camp: Stalg Luft Sagan and Belaria
Pilot 2: Sgt. Frank Henigman R/5853 RCAF PoW No: 406 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Fl/Eng: Sgt. S.J. McNamara 903218 RAFVR PoW No: 513 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Nav: P/O. 'Ted' E.J. Earngey AUS/402761 RAAF PoW No: 557 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr: Sgt. 'Bill' William Edward Goodman 1263380 RAFVR PoW No: 503 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria, Heydekrug, Thorn and Fallingbostal (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. 'John' F.St. J. Travis 104538 RAFVR PoW No: 562 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. H.D. Spry 78865 RAFVR PoWNo: 559 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Air/Gnr: W/O. 'Jack' H. Arnold 934266 RAFVR PoW No: 560 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 23.59 hrs from RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire to bomb the city of Emden. A force of 233 taking part in the largest operation on this target for 7 months.
Above left: Sgt. 'Bill' W.E. Goodman his parents, Lavinia and Arthur. Right: Sgt. Frank Henigman
124 wellingtons, 40 Stirlings, 27 Halifaxes, 20 Lancasters, 15 Hampdens and 7 Manchesters making upi the bombers. Reports were made that the bombing had been accurate with proof from later reconnaissance photographs. 300 houses were destroyed, 200 seriously damaged. Casualties on the ground amounted to 17 killed with 49 injured. Some damage also reported in the docks area.
The allies lost 11 aircraft with 45 crew members losing their lives, with a further 14 made PoW.
Stirling W7471 was intercepted by Oblt. Ludwig Becker (2) from 6./NJG2, his 21st abschüsse of the war (his second of three this night). The Stirling was shot down at 3.600 mtrs. coming down between Blija and Holwerd at 01.08 hrs. (see map)
(2) Oblt. Ludwig Becker with a total of 44 victories by the time he went missing after combat with U.S. aircraft on the 27/28th February 1943 north of Schiermonnikoog (pictured left)
His daughter takes up the story:
After skulking around for a while they eventually made contact with men who tried to help them evade capture - but, unfortunately, their movements around the village/town had been spotted and they had to allow themselves to be captured.
After some questioning at Leeuwarden Luftwaffe Fighter Base they were taken to the Dulag and onto Stalag Luft III and over the next few years dad was moved to other camps at Heydekrug, Thorn and Fallingbostel... and then came a long march! at one point being ‘strafed’ by an RAF Typhoon... and although he was unhurt there were a number of deaths of his fellow prisoners. He was lucky in that he’d dived into a ditch behind the bole of a tree and this saved him from harm.
Eventually, he got back to England in a Dakota and ended up at RAF Weeton, just outside Blackpool. He was there until he was de-mobbed on 1st Jan 1948 - the day on which he married my mother, Eileen.
His memoirs were written before he died and included his whole life story, up to an including accounts of his earlier years in Manchester City Police.
He worked his way up through the ranks of Police Constable, Sergeant, Inspector, Chief Inspector and finally, Superintendent before he had to retire after a heart attack at the age of 58 meant that he was forced to retire. He was very disappointed by this as he’d wanted to make it to the age of 60 - but I think it’s fair to say that he adapted to retirement very well.
He was a member of various groups: Ex-POW Association, RAFA, Sale Rugby Club, the Caminada Society and when he and my mother split up he went to live in Sydney, Australia with the widow of Ted Earngey (who was a member of the crew in which dad flew).
He used to fly home to England every year - but the final occasion was in 1997 when he had another heart attack at the wheel of his car. He was given first-aid by one of his former cadet officers (having trained him in Longsight) and after a worrying three days in a coma he came round – apparently no worse for wear!
Right: Sgt. 'Bill' William Edward Goodman (courtesy Gill Chesney-Green)
He wasn’t able to return to Australia because of his medical condition and so lived out his remaining life enjoying a full social life attending RAFA and various other functions – and writing his memoirs – until his death in 2002.
I believe that he wanted his family to know of his life, but when I found and read them I eventually realised that the account of his wartime experiences were too interesting to be kept just for his family!
So the sections of the book relating to the war I titled – ‘Of Stirlings and Stalags: an air-gunner’s tale’ and had them published as a permanent memorial to him, and to all the brave young men who fought (and, too often, died) in the defence of King and Country.
Burial details: None - against all odds the crew survived the war.
(1) Sgt. 'Bill' W.E. Goodman Further information:
William Edward Goodman was born in Maidstone, Kent in 1922. He was the older child of Arthur and Lavinia Goodman.
His childhood was happy and spent in both Carlisle (where his father was sent to run a shoe shop for GW Morton) and later, as a teenager in 1939 at the age of 17, back in Maidstone as his father was posted back again.
After leaving school he got “a job with a wholesale firm of radio, electrical, cycle and motor factors named H.E. Kettle Ltd, with a retail side with shops throughout Kent, Sussex, Surrey and south London under the name CycoRado. My position was accounts clerk and my own responsibility was keeping books relating to all purchases, their costs and payment to obtain maximum discounts for prompt payment, which was usual then.”
However, a few months after he turned 18 he decided that he wanted to ‘do his bit’ for the country and went off to Aircrew Selection Centre at RAF Uxbridge joining the RAF. His training took him to Blackpool, Lossiemouth, wireless training in Blackpool again, then to RAF Yatesbury for further wireless training, Bircham Newton in Norfolk, gunnery school at Stormy Down, South Wales and finally, back to Lossiemouth for final training and crewing up.
The majority of this research has been carried out by Bill Goodman - his daughter, Gill Chesney-Green, has sent it to us so his story and that of his crew can be told.
Other information on this loss is held in our archives but we feel that we should withhold it to allow readers to purchase a copy of his memoirs. Also available as an 'E Book.'