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The Airmen's Stories - P/O G E Goodman


George Ernest Goodman was born in Haifa, Palestine on 8th October 1920, the son of Sidney Charles (1897-1974) and Bida Lerner (1896-1984).

His father was a senior railway engineer. At that time Palestine was a British mandate and Goodman and his sister Ellen received British birth certificates and passports. (The 1969 film 'Battle of Britain' erroneously listed Goodman as 'Palestinian' in the final credits and this has been subsequently republished, sometimes being altered to 'Israeli', the state of Israel did not exist in 1920).

Goodman Snr. worked for the British sponsored Palestine Railways as an engineer. He met and married Bida Lerner. She was the daughter of Jewish immigrants, originally from Bessarabia (now Moldova). Her family were founding members of the, Rothschild sponsored, Zichron Yaakov agricultural settlement south of Mount Carmel. Sidney and Bida were married in St. Luke's church in Haifa.


Educated as a boarder at Highgate School, London GE Goodman was a member of the OTC there. It was thought that he would go to University but when his father left Palestine to go on to Nigeria, Goodman returned to England to join the RAF on a short service commission.

He began his training at 11 E&RFTS Perth on 10th July 1939. He went on to 9 FTS Hullavington on 2nd September and then 15 FTS Lossiemouth on the 23rd, passing out on 17th February 1940.

Goodman was posted to 11 Group Pool at St. Athan on the 27th, went to Sutton Bridge on 9th March and, after converting to Hurricanes, he joined No. 1 Squadron at Vassincourt, France on 1st May 1940.



South of Rheims on the 14th, Goodman shared in the destruction of a He111 with F/Lt. PP Hanks. The squadron was withdrawn to Northolt on the 18th.

On 25th July Goodman was attacked by four Me109s off Portland and did not fire his guns but one of the 109s spun into the sea after a violent breakaway.

He shared in the destruction of a Me109 off Cherbourg on 11th August, destroyed a He111 on the 16th and shared a Do17 and destroyed a Me110 on the 18th.

Whilst shooting the 110 down Goodman was attacked by a Me109 which chased him back to the English coast, filling his Hurricane with cannon shells and bullets. Goodman landed safely but his aircraft was a write-off.

During a big raid on London on 6th September Goodman shot down a Me110 and was himself shot down in flames by return fire. He baled out with a sprained shoulder. His Hurricane, P2686, may be the one which crashed at Brownings Farm, Chiddingstone Causeway.

Goodman shared a Ju88 on 8th October and fired at a Do17 attacking RAF Feltwell on the 27th, which escaped into cloud and regained its base with some crew wounded.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th November 1940).

On 10th November 1940 Goodman embarked on HMS Furious with 73 Squadron, bound for the Middle East. He flew Hurricane V7535 off to Takoradi on 29th November to fly the ferry route north to Heliopolis via Lagos, Accra, Kano, Maidugari, Khartoum, Wadi Haifa and Abu Sueir.

At Lagos on 5th December 1940 Goodman saw his mother, for what was to be the last time. He missed seeing his father, who was away with an economic mission in the Belgian Congo.

When 73 Squadron left Lagos their Hurricanes did a roll over the Goodman home at Ebutte Metta and were gone.

During December the pilots of 73 Squadron were attached to 274 Squadron in the Western Desert. The squadron became operational again as a unit in early January 1941. On 4th February Goodman shot down a CR42 in flames near Benina aerodrome and on 9th April destroyed a Me110 near Tobruk. In this engagement Goodman was himself shot down by Me110s and crash-landed behind British lines.

On the 12th he shared in the destruction of a Hs126 and on the 14th destroyed a Ju87 over Tobruk and shared a second. In early April Goodman spent a short leave in Haifa with his two sisters and brought along his friend P/O OE Lamb.

On 14th April Lamb was killed and on 14th June 1941 Goodman was shot down and killed in Hurricane Z4507 during a strafing attack on Gazala, where heavy flak was encountered.

He is buried in Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya.





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