Ray's handwriting

INTRODUCTION

Ray Marston Goode (pronounced 'Good') was born at Westbourne Park, South Australia on 14th July 1909. The eldest of four children to Clarence and Hilda, Ray and his three sisters, Ethel, Helen and Margaret grew up throughout the depression of the nineteen thirties.

Ray was one of two sons born to Clarence Goode. The first was Clarence Jnr known by his nickname as 'Drick'. He was born to Clarence's first wife, Helen Ethel Miriam Marston. Before her son was two years old, Helen, like so many others of the period, died of tuberculosis. In September of 1908, Clarence married his late wife's sister, Hilda Anna Margaret. While Hilda was pregnant with Ray, tragedy struck once again. Drick contracted diphtheria and after an emergency tracheotomy the little boy died at just four years of age. The following July Ray was born.

Ray aged six
Ray - Circa 1915

Clarence Goode lost his parliamentary seat as Commissioner for Crown Lands when the South Australian Labour Government, led by Crawford Vaughan, was defeated in the 1917 state election. A Government sponsored program led the family to Queensland to grow cotton. The first seasons crop failed. Clarence then put all his money into the second season. That year the boweevil struck. With the second years crop also lost, and no money, Clarence took up his elder brother's offer to manage his small property at Cleveland. Clarences brother, Arthur, was a doctor... a farmer he was not. In lieu of wages, Ray and Clarence worked the property for nearly ten years for the family's food and keep. With little in the way of practical farming skills, Arthur begin interfering in the running of the property. Then after a long period of tension, Ray's mother, Hilda, finally erupted throwing a teacup at Arthur striking him in the head.

The family returned to South Australia at the height of the Great Depression, moving to a small rented house at 301 Military Road, Henley Beach. Clarence Goode now had to find money in order to feed his family. Well into his mid fifties, and with jobs scarce Clarence got the only work he could find... cleaning public toilets at Adelaide's Centennial Park Cemetary. This was a difficult period for the family and the controlling Hilda didn't make things any easier.

Ray's love for birds resulted in an aviary in the back yard. As the depression began to ease, Helen commenced nursing, Ethel became a Sunday school teacher and Margaret went to work, first at 'Miller Anderson's', then the Adelaide News. Ray began work at Holden's Motor Body Builders Limited, then later he procured a position with Stocks & Brands as a Government poultry inspector. As a result he began spending more and more time away from the family home and Hilda's influence. Travelling to rural properties, and occasionally Aboriginal communities in outback South Australia, he nearly always carried his camera with him and used it with regularity.

Ray developed a keen interest in flying and by 1940 had obtained a private pilot's licence at the Spencer Gulf Aero Club. With Europe now well at war, Britain sent out the call to the young men of the Commonwealth and her Allies. He had 16 hours dual, and 5 hours solo flying experience when, on May 3rd 1940, he enrolled in the R.A.A.F. at No. 5a Mobile Recruiting Centre, Port Pirie.

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Spencer Gulf Aero Club - circa 1940

His ambition to join Fighter Command was soon dashed however, when at thirty-one years of age he was considered too old to be a pilot. He commenced training as a W.A.G. (wireless operator/air gunner) at No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School, Ballarat, Victoria. On the 22nd May 1941 he attended the Graduation Dinner of Course 8 at Craig's Hotel, Ballarat.

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Warrant Officer Ray Goode DFM 407499

On 18th September 1941 Ray embarked from Circular Quay, Sydney aboard the United States passenger liner S.S. Monterey. The journey would take him and many other Australian and Allied servicemen across the Pacific to the United States, via New Zealand and Hawaii. Then by train from San Francisco up the West Coast of the United States into Canada and then East, across the breadth of Canada to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Late 1941 he began the second leg of his journey in an escorted merchant convoy, crossing the U-Boat infested North Atlantic to England. There he continued in what was known as the Empire Air Training Scheme at OTU's (Operational Training Units) in both Scotland and Ireland until he was finally posted into an operational squadron with Coastal Command. First flying in Lockheed Hudsons then, on the 29th September 1942 he joined the R.A.A.F.'s 461 Squadron as a tail gunner aboard a Sunderland Flying Boat.

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Lockheed Hudson - 1942

461 Squadron was born out of 10 Squadron on Anzac Day 25th April 1942 at Mount Batten, Plymouth. From that day on the 'Anzac Squadron' as it became known, grew to independence and played its part in the 'Battle of the Atlantic' against Hitler's 'U' boat blockade of Britain

'Dear Everybody' is the story contained in Ray's letters, diary and photographs sent to his family, from Britain to Australia, at the height of World War II. It is a personal journey beginning with the departure of the S.S. Monterey in September 1941 and continuing on into 1943 and one of the epic aerial battles of World War II involving a single allied aircraft

His letters and diary are as well preserved today as they were when they were written in fountain pen sixty years ago. They have been transcribed as they were written.

Rowan Matthews
April 2003

Please Note: A website specifically related to the entire Sunderland crew and the events of 1943 is currently under construction. Much of the material appearing here will soon be transferred to the new site. The name of the site is based on Sunderland EJ134's Squadron designation which was UT-N of 461 Squadron or 'N'/461. The new site will be www.n461.com

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In Flying Gear - 1942

© Copyright 2003 Rowan Matthews
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