WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-02 > 1171800823
From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [W-OBITS] GOODCHILD: John Hovenden Goodchild 29/11/2006
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 04:13:43 -0800
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 14/02/2007
John Goodchild, who has died aged 93, won two MCs in the North Africa
campaign while serving with the Northumberland Hussars.
On March 22 1943 Goodchild (then a lieutenant) was commanding D Troop 274th
(Northumberland Hussars) Light Anti-Aircraft Battery RA, part of 25 Light AA
Regiment RA, in an attack on the Axis defensive line at Mareth, Tunisia.
They were up against the "Young Fascists", tough Italian troops supported by
battle-hardened German forces.
Goodchild's troop was on a forward slope giving AA protection to the
tank-crossing of the Wadi Zigzaou. A formidable obstacle, it was subject to
intense enfilade fire from the flanks by artillery, mortars and snipers
equipped with light machine guns.
The troop took the full force of the enemy shelling, and his men were pinned
to the bottom of their gunpits all day. Goodchild moved about in the open,
going from gun to gun, encouraging them to hold on and refusing to yield the
enemy an inch of ground.
When he received orders to withdraw, he went to his forward and most exposed
gun, under constant machine-gun and shellfire from enemy tanks, and helped
his men to bring it out of action until it was hit and disabled and they
were forced to abandon it. Goodchild, the last to leave, stopped to put a
mortally wounded comrade on to a Bren carrier. He received a Bar to an
John Hovenden Goodchild was born at West Norwood, south-east London, on
December 18 1912 and educated at Felsted School. On leaving school he joined
F C Giddins, a member of the Corn Exchange in the City.
After the outbreak of war he enlisted with the Royal Artillery, completing
his officer training at Larkhill, before being commissioned into 102nd Light
Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Tank Regiment RA (the Northumberland Hussars). On
arrival in Egypt in December 1940 he took command of D Troop 274 (NH) Lt AA
Battery, which was equipped with three Bofors guns for use in both
anti-aircraft and anti-tank roles.
In April 1942 the battery joined 50th Division in the defence of the Gazala
Line, north-east Libya. At the end of May Rommel swung his armour around the
southern end of the Line and, after fierce fighting, forced the British to
On the night of June 14 Goodchild received orders that his troop, together
with 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, was to pull back from its position
south of Gazala. The column ran into enemy infantry and armour; but despite
being under fire, Goodchild made a quick reconnaissance and brought his
Bofors guns into action, knocking out two tanks.
Later, when an Me 109 made a surprise attack, he retaliated with the Bofors,
scoring several hits on the aircraft, which went off low over the sea and
was logged as a "probably destroyed". He was awarded an immediate MC.
Goodchild took part in the invasion of Sicily, where he contracted malaria;
but he rejoined his troop in Normandy after D-Day and fought in the
remainder of the campaign in north-west Europe. One of the lighter moments
that he liked to recall was a night in a billet in the Ardennes when his
host apologised for offering him only half a bottle of brandy; a German
general had drunk the other half the previous evening.
Goodchild was demobilised on Armistice Day 1945. He then joined Hasler, seed
merchants, and represented the company in selling malting barley on the
market in Mark Lane. In 1953 he became a director of Pennell & Sons,
Lincoln, with responsibility for marketing agricultural seeds. He lived in a
village in Lincolnshire and, after retiring in 1977, enjoyed gardening and
playing the stock market. He was an active supporter of his local church.
John Goodchild died on November 29. He married, in 1939, Mary Wilkinson, who
predeceased him; he is survived by their four sons.
|[W-OBITS] GOODCHILD: John Hovenden Goodchild 29/11/2006 by "Peter McCrae" <>|