Sgt. John Goodwin RAF(VR)
John Goodwin was born on 28
August 1922, the only son of John and Alice-Lilian Goodwin of Flackwell
Heath in Buckinghamshire. John had two elder sisters, Kathleen and Phyllis
and one younger sister Elizabeth (Bet).
When the war started he decided that he wanted to fly with the RAF. He
passed an Air Crew Selection Board in November 1941 and was 'recommended for
training as a Wireless Operator (Air)'. He joined the RAF on 5 January 1942
and in July 1942 was selected for training as an Air Gunner.
After he was selected for Air Gunner training, he joined No 7 Air
Gunnery School at Stormy Down in Wales on 31 October 1942 where he did his
basic air gunners training in a Whitley bomber. He qualified as an Air
Gunner on 28 December 1942.
In January 1943 he moved from Stormy Down to No 14 Operational Training
Unit at Cottersmore and Saltby and first started flying with Sgt Fitzgerald
and other members of the crew in a Wellington Ic.
From here he went on for a week's intensive fighter affiliation training at
No 1485 Gunnery Flight at Fulbeck followed by a three weeks at No 1654
Conversion Unit at Wigsley. It is here that Sgt Goodwin and the other
members of the members of the crew learned to fly and fight in the Lancaster
In June 1943 he was posted, with the other members of the crew he had been
training with, to No 207 Squadron at RAF Langar near Nottingham.
At the end...
Not including his final operation, John had completed a total of 94hrs
daylight and 122hrs night flying. Of these, 78hrs night flying, were on
operational sorties over Germany and Italy.
John very much wanted to fly with the RAF as a 'tail-end charlie' and he
died doing what he had always wanted to do.
The rear turret of a Lancaster bomber - John
Goodwin's place of work !
Steve Elsden 2009
The inscription at the foot
of the stone reads.
Hath No man Than This.
He Laid Down His Life
For His Friends
Requiem for a Rear Gunner
My brief sweet life is over, my eyes no longer see,
No summer walks - no Christmas Trees - no pretty girls for me,
I've got the chop, I've had it, my nightly ops are done
Yet in another hundred years, I'll still be twenty-one
by R W Gilbert
To view Sgt. John Goodwin's Flying Log Book