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66 Squadron, RFC & RAF, 1916 to 1919

Goode, Harry King DSO DFC MiD


Harry Goode, John Mackereth, unknownHarry Goode probably shot down more balloons than any other pilot in Italy with the R.F.C. or R.A.F. He had been born in the back streets of Handsworth just outside Birmingham in 1892, taken in by a poor mining family in the tiny Warwickshire village of Bulkington. A clever scholar, he joined up at the outbreak of war, fighting in France with the Royal Engineer's and later in Italy with 66 squadron, like many of his contemporaries he was to die whilst flying but in Harry's case as a civilian in World War Two.

Early Life

On 22 October 1892, Harry King was born to Florence Annie King, a dressmaker at 68 Queens Head Lane (now Queens Head Road), Handsworth, near Birmingham, which in those days, was still in the County of Staffordshire. How Harry King came to be adopted by Thomas and Margaret Goode of Ryton, Bulkington, Warwickshire, will never be known, but it is thought that the local Roman Catholic priest may have had a hand in the arrangements. How this working class family took in Harry was never discussed with the members of the family. Thomas Goode had met Margaret McDonald whilst he was a gardener at Weston Hall and Margaret a young lass of 22 years from the Liverpool area was employed at the hall as a domestic servant. They were married on 1 September 1885 at the Catholic Church of St Mary’s Chilvers Cotton near Nuneaton. Margaret inherited the children from Thomas’s first marriage to Kate Roger who had borne him two daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Sarah.

Kate had died in 1883 soon after Sarah’s birth. Harry attended Bulkington Primary School along with Mary and Sarah, the two daughters from Tom’s first marriage. In 1907 Harry was offered a scholarship with the Local Education Authority, he was given free schooling and in return after completing his studies he would serve the Local Education Authority as a student teacher for not less than one year. He was paid the sum of £10.00 per annum monthly. Thomas Goode stood as surety whilst Harry was studying and had to undertake to repay £2.00 per month for every month that Harry failed to complete his duties as a student teacher. On 16 September 1907 Harry was admitted to King Edward VI Free Grammar School Nuneaton as a Town Scholar. He came to the school from Queens Road School, Nuneaton where he had spent some time as a student teacher. He studied for five years at King Edward’s School obtaining a Cambridge Local Honours degree in 1912. On one occasion he wrote to a friend enclosing his school report and justified the fact that he had only finished in the top ten places in each subject. Teaching was not to Harry’s liking. As far as is known he did complete his contract with the Education Authority, he is known to have taught at Queens Road and at another unidentified school in Rugby. In 1912 according to his RAF records he joined the Coventry firm of Alfred Herbert as a pupil machine Tool master, where he was known by Sir Alfred Herbert, who presented him with a watch and told him that he was too intelligent for the job.

In the RFC

Harry worked at Herbert’s until the outbreak of war and was one of the many men from Bulkington who joined the colours and departed for war, His name, along with 249 other men, is commemorated on a wooden plaque in the Church of St James. By the alter is another memorial to the twenty-three men who failed to return to Bulkington. Many men joined the Warwickshire Regiment, but Harry joined the Royal Engineers, army number 49421 on 8 September 1914 aged 22 years, and was for some time a motorcycle dispatch rider. Whilst with the RE he was promoted to Corporal. He entered France with the RE on 22 July 1915 and severed there until 23 July 1917, when he returned home. Whilst serving in France he became entitled to the 1914-15 Star. He returned home and transferred to the RFC. This became effective on 14 November 1917, although he was discharged from the RE on the 7th.

Harry visiting Italian soldiersHarry the followed the familiar route of so many embryo officers of the RFC. He attended 2 School of Military Aeronautics at Oxford for his basic training and theory from 21 September 1917 until late November, he was gazetted as a probationary 2/Lt. on 14 November From 2 SoMA he was posted to flying training school at Castle Bromwich (not so far away from his birth place) where he learnt to fly on Maurice Farman Shorthorn and Longhorns, Avros and Sopwith Pups of 5 Training Squadron. Advanced flying training was undertaken at Joyce Green with 63 Training Squadron from 6 January 1918, and this is where he would have been trained to fly the Sopwith Camel. Upon completion of the course at Joyce Green, he attended 2 School of Aerial Fighting and Gunnery, Marske from 6 May.

Harry was the posted to 14 Wing, which had its headquarters at Sarcedo. 14 Wing was commanded by Lt. Col. Philip Joubert de la Ferté DSO. Under his command on the Italian front he had the following, 28, 45 (returned to France in August ) and 66 Squadrons with Sopwith Camels. 34 Squadron with R.E.8’s and a flight of Bristol F2b Fighters (known as Z flight and later to become 139 Squadron). 7 Air Park and the 4 th. Balloon Wing, which comprised the 9 th. Balloon Company, 7 and 33 sections. Harry arrived at 14 Wing on 22 May. from here he was posted to 66 squadron with effect from 27 May. Harry joined ‘C’ flight. although he was officially on 66 squadron strength from 27 May, his first flight with the squadron was on 25 May, when he flew Sopwith Camel B5190 for a thirty-minute training flight in the morning and another flight in the afternoon in Camel B6424 for twenty minutes.

His first offensive patrol was on 30 May when in Camel B5190. with Lt. G.T.C. May in B5623 and Lt. William M. MacDonald in B7358 he undertook a number twenty-three offensive patrol, departing at 0600 hrs and returning at 0815, no E.A. were seen and the weather and visibility was fair becoming bad. From then on he flew regularly, including flight with the flight commander Capt. William G. Barker, Lt. Gerald A. Birks and Capt. Peter Carpenter. First contact with the Kaiserliche und Konigliche Luftfahrtruppen came on 10 June when on escort patrol with Lt. William M. MacDonald (D1913), Lt. Alfred E. Baker (B7358), Harry in (B5190) departed at 0510 escorting a Western Reconnaissance by Bristol Fighter C916 piloted by Lt. C. E. Gill and 2/Lt. T. Newey from Z Flight, 34 Squadron. They observed seven scouts, a mix of Albatros D111 and Brandenburgs at 16000 ft at 0610 over Mt. Cismon. The E.A. scouts dived on the Camels and Bristol Fighter. MacDonald engaged the Austrians and shot down two, a Brandenberg D 1 and Albatros D111.

The Battle of the Piave

On 3 June the Austrian Army launched an attack at the Passo di Tonale as the opening gambit of their Piave offensive. The main attack commenced on 15 June over the Sette Comuni. Activity increased on 15 June after the Austrian Army launched its attack on the Piave front, with the squadron’s Camels being armed with four 20 Lb. Cooper bombs each and used to bomb pontoon bridges and supply depots. Harry’s next engagement with enemy aircraft was on 21 June when on patrol with Lt. Gordon F.M. Apps (D9410), Harry (B5190) and Lt. Alfred E. Baker (B7358) were engaged on a late afternoon Special Patrol in the Val. d’ Assa after low clouds had obstructed targets in the Val. d’ Galmarara, seven E.A. scouts were seen, two LVG’s, three D111s and two DV’s at 1820 hrs at around 12000 ft near Motta, Lt. Apps shot down one D111 out of control. On 19 June the Italian Army attacked the Austrians. On 25 June Lt. William M. MacDonald (D9414), Lt. Alfred E. Baker (B7358) and Harry (D9410) departed the aerodrome at 0615 on close patrol at 15000 ft, MacDonald returned with engine trouble, landing at Nove, Baker and Harry then became separated, Harry then observed an Albatros two seater at 0735 at 1500 ft south of Asiago, the E.A. was claimed by Harry, “shot down and smoking badly”. In 66 squadron book “Record of E.A. Shot Down” this entry in Harry’s record has been ruled through and annotated ‘Not Allowed’ possibly because of the lack of witnesses. Harry also had some bad days. On 13 July, when patrolling with Capt. William G. Barker (B6131), Lt. Gordon F.M. Apps (B7358) and Harry (D9414) he was forced to land at Castello di Godego with a broken cylinder, later on Barker shot down one Brandenburg scout and one Albatros D111, with Apps claiming an Albatross D111 as well. later the same day this time with Apps (B7358) and May (B5623) and Harry (D9410) was forced to land at St. Florianodi di Campagn again with engine trouble, the aircraft crashed on landing and overturned. Harry walked away unhurt, he was not to be so lucky later on. On 15 July Lt's May (D9414), Baker (B5623) and Harry (B7358) departed Casoni to escort three R.E 8’s from 34 squadron. 34 squadron sent Lt. A.F. Wilson (B2616), Lt. F.D. Smith (B2289) and Lt. J.W. Davis (D4832). Unfortunately Lt. Davis was involved in a collision with an Italian Hanriot Scout piloted by Tenente Alessandro Buzio of 81 Squadrilia who taxied into D4832, 34 squadron sent a replacement crew over Lt. J.G. Home arrived with B8886.

First Victory

Harry’s first confirmed victory came on 18 July whilst on patrol in B2363. Lt. William C. Hilborn (D8101) and Lt. Gordon T.C. May (D9414) departed on patrol at 0730 and at 0800 they observed three Albatros D111 and two Brandenburg’s two-seaters at 13000 ft over Cesuna. The patrol engaged the E.A. with Harry shooting down an Albatross D111, which crashed near Mt. Baldo at 0805. Lt Hilborn also claimed one of the Brandenburg’s. On 29 July, again whilst on patrol with Hilborn (E1496) and MacDonald (B7358) and Harry (B2363) Hilborn dispatched a D111 near Feltre at 0740. Much the same happened on 1 August when again on patrol with Hilborn (E1496), Baker (D8101) and Harry (E1494), Hilborn attacked a Roland scout over Mt. Cismon at 18500 ft without effect, Harry then finished off the Roland, which crashed near St. Guistina at 0930. On 5 August Harry shot down his first EKB when. with Lt. H.D. McDiarmid (B5623), Lt A.J. Howell (B7358) and Harry (E1494). He attacked an Enemy Kite balloon at 700 ft with no result, but found another south east of Oderzo, which he shot down in flames. This was the first of seven he was to destroy before the end of the war, he was to shoot down more EKB than any other RAF pilot on this front.

Four days later on 9 August Harry (E1496), Baker (D8101) and Capt. John Mackereth (E1496) abandoned their patrol over the mountains and went to the Piave, at 0740 and 1000 ft Mackereth developed engine trouble and returned to base, but Harry sighted a Brandenberg two-seater at 6000 ft north of Motta which he shot down, the aircraft crashed and started to smoke on the ground. On 11 August Harry flew two patrols, the first patrol was with Capt. Mackereth (E1499). Baker (D8101) and Harry (E1494). They patrolled from 0625 until 0835 with no result, but later that day with MacDonald (E1499), Baker (D8101) and Harry (E1494) when near Thiene they found an unidentified two-seater being archied, after climbing the aircraft was attacked and shot down by MacDonald east of Cassotto. Meanwhile Baker was attacking another two-seater aircraft, which was being archied on the Allied side of the lines, but, as he closed in, he realised that it was an Italian aircraft and pulled out of the attack. Shortly after, at 1755, Harry found a D111 being archied west of Bassano , he attacked it at 4000 ft over Valpegara. The aircraft turned over and spun down, but owing to mist and the light in the Valley he was unable to see if it crashed, this claim was not credited to Harry.

66 Squadron Sopwith CamelHarry did not have to wait long for his next confirmed claim which was made on 22 August when with Capt. John Mackereth (E1496), and Harry (E1494) they found four unidentified scouts at 17000 ft over Conegliano at 100 hrs, one of the E.A. scouts was attacked by another patrol and the pilot jumped out using his parachute, one other machine was shot down by Harry in flames at 1110. Harry flew his last patrol in August on 26 when Capt. John Mackereth (E1496) and Harry (E1494) patrolled at 12000 ft, they observed an EKB at 4000 ft west of Conegliano but this was winched down when they approached. This was Harry’s last patrol with John Mackereth. On 31 August whilst flying E1496, Mackereth was shot down after destroying an EKB and taken prisoner.

Harry was given leave and returned to the UK departing on 31 August and returning on 22 September. He flew the next day, when he took E7211 up for a ten-minute test flight and it did not take him long to make his mark again. Six days later on 29 September, his second patrol of the day Harry (E7211), Capt. Harold Hindle-James (E1576) and Lt. Norman S. Taylor (E7213), Harry attacked an LVG 500 ft north east of Conegliano which he shot down. On the same patrol he attacked an EKB without result. The 4 October was a busy day when a bomb raid was mounted against Campofomido Aerodrome with a stop at Macon to refuel before attacking the aerodrome. twenty aircraft departed except Lt. Courtenay (D8215) who broke his tailskid whilst taxiing. This was not only a 66 squadron effort as Lt. A.F. White in D8212 from 28 squadron took part. Harry’s last air to air victory took place on 8 October. Capt. Peter Carpenter (C3290), Capt. Harold Hindle-James (E1576) and Harry (E7211) patrolled 12000/15000 ft and observed a Roland two-seater at 1120 near Torre di Mosto at about 13000 ft. They attacked and Peter Carpenter got behind the Roland and silenced the observer. but his gun sight fogged and he pulled out, Harry continued the attack shooting down the aircraft south west of Vado at 1150. Another four E.A. were observed near Stino di Livenza but they dived down to Mansue aerodrome and landed. On 24 October the Italians attacked the Austrians at the Grappa and later along the Piave. The Austrians counter-attacked on 27 Th. until late on 28th, on 28th at 0800 the Austrians appeared at SerraValle, in the Val. Lagarine bearing a white flag. Conditions for the armistice were concluded on 3 November, and became effective on 4 November. Harry then had a run of six combats with EKB, the first on 16 October was near Oderzo, on the 22nd whilst on patrol with Capt. Harold Hindle-James (El576), Harry (E7211) and Lt. Alfred E. Baker (D8214) they found a EKB south-west of Vazzolo. James and Goode both fired about 400 rounds into the EKB, which burst into flames. The observer jumped out and Goode “fired into his body at very’ close range”. They then returned ‘hedge-hopping” but James was hit by fire from the trenches and managed to glide to an island in the Piave south of Cimadolmo.

Award of the DFC

He returned to the squadron the next day with cuts and a severe blow to the head caused on landing. he was admitted to hospital with facial injuries and shock. For this action Harry was awarded the DFC which was gazetted on 3 December 1918. His citation is below.

The next EKB was destroyed on 27 October but the next day again in E7211 Harry destroyed an EKB south of Oderzo at 0810 on his first patrol. The second patrol of the morning with Lt. H.D. McDiarmid (E1499) and Lt. A.E. Baker (D8214). Both Harry and McDiarmid shot down one each and Baker bombed two AA batteries. AA fire was very intense and heavy machine gun fire resulted in Harry and McDiarmid being shot about. 28 October was a good day for Harry but the 29th was exceptional. The first patrol of the day Harry was in E7210 and Lt. A. E. Baker in D8214. They departed the aerodrome at 0645 and at 0715 they attacked a hostile battery with bombs. Later Harry flew over Stradatta aerodrome at 1000 ft and saw three E.A aircraft outside the hangars. He attacked an EKB on the ground at 0730 which was set on fire. At 0740 a D111 was seen to turn over on its nose on Stradatta. Horses and horse transport were attacked on the Oderzo road and near Comma the patrol landed at 0830. At 0955 Harry and Baker departed again, this time they found a train near Pianzano which they attacked with machine gun fire. They returned at 1145. Refuelled and rearmed Harry and Baker this time joined by Lt. H.D. McDiarmid in E1499 departed at 1300 hrs, first attacking troops and transports going east on the Vittono-Cordignano road. At 1315 five E.A. two-seaters were observed on St. Giacomo aerodrome. Harry and McDiarmid attacked the machines and hangars with very good results, Harry destroying one aircraft with a bomb. They then continued to harass the Austrians attacking horse transports and other targets. The patrol returned at 1430 Sopwith Camel E7210 was again fuelled and armed and Harry took off for his last mission of the day at 1530 on his own, but on the way to St. Giacomo he attracted the attention of Lt. A.G. Kettles (E1495) and Lt. C. C. Butler (E1497) who were already on patrol, the other member of this patrol, Lt. A. Paget (E7215), was forced to land at Treviso owing to damage from ground fire whilst attacking transports at 38.E. 1940. They joined Harry attacking the Austrians, Harry dropped two 20 lb bombs destroying three aircraft.

End of the War

Harry received his DSO from the CinC on 5 November 1918, the award was gazetted in the London Gazette on 8 February 1919. The next day Harry (E7210), Lt. A.G. Kettles (E1499) and H.D. McDiarmid (D8214) whilst on patrol noticed that St. Giacomo aerodrome had been evacuated, and the hangars burnt with the exception of one empty hangar, which was left standing. Harry reported that a single seater that he attacked the previous day had been burnt. Lt. McDiarmid observed a wrecked machine where Harry had destroyed an E.A with a bomb. McDiarmid also saw the single seater that had been burnt. On the third patrol of the day Harry, Kettles and McDiarmid (D8103) bombed a group of between 60-100 horse transports and six light guns on the Fontana Fredda - Sacille road. The patrol then landed at St. Giacomo aerodrome, counting eight burnt machines; no hangars were erect most having been burnt. From now on the pace was intense with Allied forces pushing the Austrians back in disarray. Transports, guns and men were attacked at every opportunity until the armistice on 4 November. Harry was slightly wounded on 1 November when, on the second patrol of the day in E7210. He was diving on transports near St. Vito al Tagliamento and was shot in the face. He managed to drop his four 20 lb. bombs and machine gun the transports until exhausting his ammunition.

Peace - and the Death of Cockerill

Harry’s last recorded flight in Italy was on 12 February 1919 in C123 for a 45 minute training flight. 66 squadron then returned to Home Establishment via 7 Air Park, a cadre reformed at Yatesbury and then moved to Leighterton. Wiltshire. After a period of leave from 22 March, Harry rejoined 66 squadron as O.C. 66 squadron Cadre but on 21 April 1919, whilst flying Avro 504 D7789) with Sgt. T.W. Cockerill, he crashed on Leighterton aerodrome killing Cockerill. Harry was reported to be diving and zooming over the aerodrome, he was taken to Chisledon Military Hospital with a broken wrist. Cockerill is buried in his hometown of Malton, Yorkshire. 66 squadron disbanded on 25 October 1919.

Harry never returned to 66 squadron after this accident. He had accumulated a total of 324 hours 50 minutes flying up to the accident. Whilst flying with 66 squadron Harry flew 177 times, of which 134 flights were operational in the period between joining the squadron and the Armistice on 4 November.

Harry stayed in the RAF after the war and was granted a permanent commission. Harry did tours of duty in India, Iraq, Aden, Egypt, and British Somaliland. He became an instructor and served in the UK with various training units and also with 4 FTS in Egypt.

Whilst in Egypt and serving with 45 squadron in late 1927 he met Ena Marshall Scales, a teacher from Bosham, Hants, who was visiting the pyramids. They married on 2 February 1930 at the parish church in Bosham, their only child Justina died two weeks after birth in November of the same year.

Later he was posted to 502 squadron in Ulster, before returning to RAF Hendon where he eventually commanded 24 squadron. He was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 December 1935, and awarded the Air Force Cross in January 1939. From 24 squadron he took command of 60 OTU during late April 1941 as Group Captain (temp), and he decided to retire on 15 December 1941. He the joined the RAF Accident Branch and whilst visiting Northern Ireland on 21 August 1942 was killed in the crash of LV340/X a Liberator 111 from 120 squadron whilst on transit between Ballykelly and Nuts Corner. He is buried in the graveyard at Tamlacht Finlagen, Church of Ireland churchyard, Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. His name does not appear on the memorial to the dead of two wars in the church of St James, Bulkington and as far as I know, his name is not recorded elsewhere.


Awards and Citations

"A brilliant fighting pilot who sets a fine example of courage and determination to the officers of his squadron. He has destroyed six enemy aeroplanes and two kite balloons."

“During the present offensive this officer has done excellent work, showing exceptional skill, gallantry’ and devotion to duty. He has destroyed five enemy kite balloons, three of which he had to continue to attack to the ground until they burst into flames. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft, which were standing on an enemy aerodrome and also attacked personnel, hangars and Mess Buildings of this aerodrome from 10 feet, causing the enemy to abandon eight machines they had on the aerodrome. This was all accomplished between 27 th. and 29 th. October. he has most successfully attacked transports and troops, and on two occasions reported two very large concentrations of enemy troops and transports. he is also officially credited with capturing fifteen enemy guns from the air. he has continually taken his patrol down to very low altitudes to bomb and machine gun enemy road movements with exceptional good results. In his last attack on enemy transport he was shot in the face while diving down to attack. he nevertheless continued his dive, taking his patrol down to 50 feet and dropping his four bombs, obtaining all direct hits, after which he continued to machine gun this transport until exhausting his ammunition. This officer has now destroyed seven enemy kite balloons and nine enemy aeroplanes and his example of bravery to others has at all times been exceptionally brilliant.”

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