Ernest Willy (Ern) GOODENOUGH


GOODENOUGH, Ernest Willy

Service Number: 3757
Enlisted: 10 August 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Pinda, South Australia, 29 October 1890
Home Town: Wilmington, Mount Remarkable, South Australia
Schooling: Hammond Public School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Bullecourt, France, 6 May 1917, aged 26 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hammond Roll of Honor, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France), Wilmington District WW1 Honour Boards
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World War 1 Service

10 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, Adelaide, South Australia
2 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3757, 10th Infantry Battalion, RMS Malwa, Adelaide
6 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 3757, 10th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (Second)

Help us honour Ernest Willy Goodenough's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by N. Campbell

Ernest Willie GOODENOUGH was born 29th October 1890 at PINDA (near WILMINGTON), to George and Eliza GOODENOUGH who moved to WILMINGTON. Ernest had 4 brothers and 8 sisters and was schooled at HAMMOND. He was known as Ern or Ernie to his family and friends. In April 1914 he was listed as passing his Ambulance Work exam as a railwayman. Ern reported he was working as a Farmer and Labourer at the time of his enlistment.

Ernest was 5’2 ¾“tall, weighed 136 pound and had a 36” chest. He had light brown hair, a fresh complexion and blue eyes. He attended the recruitment centre on 10th August 1915 and attested in ADELAIDE.  Ernest went straight into Mitcham Camp.

Ern embarked on R.M.S. Malwa from ADELAIDE on 2nd December 1915. After further training in Alexandria, Ern travelled on HMAT Transylvannia to FRANCE and he and his colleagues joined the 10th battalion on 12th June 1916.  The 10th had arrived from GALLIPOLI only a few months before. Ernie was posted onto the strength of the 10th battalion and entered the Battle for the Somme with them. He fought through the devastating Battle of Pozieres which lasted until 3rd September, 1916.  

Following this the 10th were involved in continuing battles along the Western Front. In May 1917, after the initial assault around Bullecourt failed to penetrate the German lines, British commanders made preparations for a second attempt. British artillery began an intense bombardment of the village, which by 20 April had been virtually destroyed.  Although the infantry assault was planned for 20 April, it was pushed back a number of times and finally set for the early morning of 3 May. At 03:45, the Australians attacked east of Bullecourt village, intending to pierce the Hindenburg Line and capture Hendecourt-lès-Cagnicourt. German resistance was fierce and when the offensive was called off on 17 May, few of the initial objectives had been met. The Australians were in possession of much of the German trench system between Bullecourt and Riencourt-lès-Cagnicourt but had been unable to capture Hendecourt. To the west, British troops managed to push the Germans out of Bullecourt itself.
During this heavy fortnight of fighting, on the 6th of May, 1917, Ernie was involved in fierce continuous fighting near BULLECOURT and was one of those killed in this action whilst trying to capture a sunken road. Although given a battlefield burial, Ernies grave could not be located after the war.

In the fighting along the Western Front in World War 1, it is reported that 7,947,000 allied troops were killed, wounded, captured or missing, and 5,603,000 enemy troops were killed, wounded, captured or missing,  So many with no known grave.

Ernies father, received Erns 1914-1915 Star Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Memorial Scroll and Plaque along with a copy of the ‘Kings Message’.  As Ernest GOODENOUGHs body has not been recovered his name is one of the over 4,000 killed in action and never found, whose names are now etched on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour and Ernest is also commemorated on the Honour Roll at The WILMINGTON Soldiers Memorial Hall.