Arthur Godfrey GOODSON


GOODSON, Arthur Godfrey

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, 13 June 1886
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Science Teacher
Died: Killed In Action, France, 3 August 1916, aged 30 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

8 Feb 1916: Involvement 24th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
8 Feb 1916: Embarked SN Officer, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Warilda, Melbourne
3 Aug 1916: Involvement Second Lieutenant, 24th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Goodson the soccer star

This is excerpted from an article by Ian Syson

Behind the raw statistics there are the many human stories of individuals who went, fought and died. Perhaps the story of 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Godfrey Goodson, tutor at Scotch College, is one of the more powerful. It represents a typical story of migration and commitment to nation and Empire but is atypical in terms of Goodson's social class.

Unlike most of his fellow players, who tended to be tradesmen or skilled labourers, Goodson was one of a small cohort of soccer-playing Melbourne professionals. Born in 1886 and educated at Leeds Central High School, he went on to take a BSc at Leeds University, where he excelled at sport, gaining a double blue for football and track sports.

In 1913 he took a position as a science tutor at Scotch College in Melbourne, where he was admired by the boys and masters alike. It seems that Goodson was a man who stood out in a crowd by standing back from it. Modest and unassuming, he shone through his deeds and not his words.

If he was shocked to find an absence of soccer goalposts at the school (Scotch not taking up soccer until the 1970s), he was able to satisfy his sporting desire in the bustling soccer culture of pre-War Melbourne. Indeed, Goodson made an immediate impression playing for Melbourne Thistle. He also represented the local England team in its annual game against Scotland in 1914 and captained the team in 1915.

In match reports, references to Goodson abound. As a "Roy of the Rovers" type centre-half, he was everywhere: breaking up play; heading clear; delivering good long balls to his forwards; and scoring free kicks, penalty kicks and goals from open play – a Mile Jedinak of a different age.

Goodson enlisted in the AIF in June 1915 and married Ada Baird of Learmonth, Ballarat, a month later. Between this time and his embarkation on 8 February 1916, Goodson played soccer only sporadically, his every absence mentioned in the reports as a chance for the opposition to obtain a rare victory against the mighty Thistle. He was killed in action at Pozieres on 3 August 1916.

Every death at war is a tragedy for the individuals, their families and their communities. Yet I suspect that the loss of Goodson was a deep blow for all involved in Melbourne soccer. When he fell, the game lost a bright star.

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