Interview with Wal Goodwin
Interview with Wal Goodwin
Wal Goodwin grew up near Melbourne, was conscripted in the Australian Army but was discharged due to his father’s reserved farming occupation. He later volunteered for the Australian Air Force and received his initial training of meteorology, Morse code and semaphore in Sydney, plus basic combat training – including dismantling and reassembling a Bren gun blindfolded. He recalls a march through crowded streets of Sydney. Wal took flying training at Narrandera by Link Trainer and then Tiger Moth but stopped due to tonsillitis. Further training was undertaken at Point Cook on Oxfords. Next, he awaited embarkation to England at the Showground and Melbourne Cricket Ground. Delays ensued, contracting mumps and then, after departing Australia, Italian prisoners of war and Polish female refugees were added to the sailing vessel at Durban, South Africa. In London, Wal saw barrage balloons and the destruction of the Blitz. In Brighton, Wal listened to an accurate broadcast by Lord Haw Haw and undertook an instrument flying course. He assisted in the control tower at Haverfordwest, then transferred to Milford Haven for aircraft identification. Wal’s destroyer accompanied a convoy to Cherbourg following D-Day. Wal crewed up at RAF Brenzett and converted to Lancasters at RAF Winthorpe before being posted to 463 Squadron. He completed a decoy operation when the war ended. Unable to contact RAF Skellingthorpe, they landed unassisted and returned to a party at the control tower. Wal was invited to a function at the Duchess of Devonshire’s residence in Knightsbridge where he danced with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. He remembers flying Cooks Tours. On return to Australia, Wal missed comradeship and struggled to adjust to civilian life; working on the family farm despite hoping to remain in the Air Force.
IBCC Digital Archive
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01:31:39 audio recording
Adam Purcell, “Interview with Wal Goodwin,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 25, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11739.
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