Francis Willie (Frank and also Willie) GOODWIN MC and Bar, MID


GOODWIN, Francis Willie

Service Number: 17
Enlisted: 29 August 1914, Broadmeadows, Victoria
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Colwall,Herefordshire, England, 6 January 1886
Home Town: Geelong, Greater Geelong, Victoria
Schooling: Boys Free School, Colwall
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed In Action, Westhoek, Belgium, 4 October 1917, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Hooge Crater Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

29 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 17, Broadmeadows, Victoria
19 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 17, 8th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 17, 8th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Benalla, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 17, 8th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
25 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 17, 8th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, GSW (leg)
13 Aug 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 8th Infantry Battalion
20 Nov 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, 8th Infantry Battalion
10 Feb 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Regimental Sergeant Major, 8th Infantry Battalion
6 Apr 1916: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
23 Jul 1916: Honoured Military Cross, Battle for Pozières
5 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
18 Aug 1916: Honoured Military Cross and bar, Battle for Pozières , On 18th August rescued wounded soldier from beneath German parapet
4 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge

My great uncle, my hero

My great uncle Willie started to come alive to me as I began tracing the family tree.From rural Herefordshire he had gone to Australia before the outbreak of war.On hearing 3 of his brothers had enlisted in England, he promptly joined the AIF his service number was 17.
We do have Willies 1917 diary and he was on sick leave and some training in England earlier in the year,at this time he was "walking out" with a young lady called Hilda Hayward.In the diary he writes they had bought a ring.
I would so like to trace her family and find out how she carried on without him.
Willie returned to the front in September 2017, and died within a few weeks.
I often think he lost his edge because he had been away from the fighting for a while, but he was always up for the fight, so I guess he was going to fall at some point.
All of Willies brothers survived the war.To my knowledge none of his immediate family ever went to visit his grave.There was probably too much desolation and confusion at the time.The family were not well off so probably did not have the means to travel so far.
In 2016, my husband and I took a trip to Ypres and also down to the Somme.
We stood at the lane running up to Mouquet Farm, just a few hundred feet away and imagined Willies heroics in the very same place.This is where he was awarded either his Mc or Bar.
The countryside today is beautiful rolling fields, not the desolation and horror that he experienced.
At Hooge Crater cemetery in Section XV plot D 15, a Goodwin descendant stood and cried as I laid our flowers and placed his photograph next to his headstone.
I may have been decades to late to have known the man, but I know of his heroism and his bravery, and I burst with pride when I think of him.
I intend to carry his story on through my children and hopefully future generations of our family.He will never be forgotten by me, or my family, he is my hero for all time.

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Son of Caroline Goodwin, of The Oaks, Colwall and the late Edward Goodwin.

He is remembered on the Colwall War Memorial as Willie.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

Alternatively known as Bill or Frank, this brave officer who served at Gallipoli, the Somme (Pozieres) and Ypres, Belgium, garners significant mentions both in Ron Austin's "Cobbers in Khaki" and also CEW Beans "Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918." 

I think if Lieut. Frank Goodwin had survived the War his brothers in arms would have held him in a similar reverence to Capt Percy Lay (/explore/people/298299) (big praise). 

Capt Joseph Booth MC (/explore/people/362877) was reported to say that "Bill Goodwin was one of the most courageous officers of the 8th Battalion." (pg 167 Cobbers in Khaki)

He was also a brother in arms of my great uncle, Capt Gerald Evans MC