1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

George Alfred Goddard

Contributed by: Ken Goddard, on 2008-11-08

George Alfred Goddard
First Name George Alfred
Surname Goddard
Year of Birth 1883
Year of Death 1962
Regiment Middlesex Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Brentford, Greater London

George Alfred's Story

At the beginning of 1914, my Grandfather was already an experienced soldier, having spent the previous 11½ years in the Middlesex Regiment. He enlisted in July 1902 and served over 2 years in South Africa; he was now in the reserves and only seven months away from retirement. In the July at the age of 31, he re-engaged for another four years.

You'll always be a Die Hard Granddad

On August 5th 1914 my Grandfather mobilised at Mill Hill ready for active duty and was posted on the 11th September as a regular with the 1st Middlesex and the British Expeditionary Force, entering the theatre of war on the 14th. Even a seasoned soldier as my Grandfather, would have not have been prepared for the horrors and carnage of this war. Following the first Battle of Aisne and The Battle of Ypres-Armentières, the Middlesex Regiment dug in for the long haul. The conditions must have been horrific, the trenches were primitive, soldiers stood knee-deep in mud and slush in icy cold conditions, in clothes soaked and sodden which they kept on for days, with vermin running everywhere compounded by the constant shelling. And should they have glanced into No Man's Land, they would have seen the rotting carcasses of fallen heroes who were once their mates.

My Grandfather was fortunate enough to be sent home at the end of November. After spending four months at home he was posted back to the Western Front with the 3rd Middlesex Regiment in the April of 1915, only to encounter the first poison gas attack from the Germans at the second Battle of Ypres. From there the regiment moved on to the Battle of Loos, and on the 19th October my Grandfather received gun shot wounds to his left hand and left leg.

Extract taken from the 3rd Middlesex War diaries, 19th October 1915:

Battalion moved off at 8:30 AM reaching WESTMINISTER BRIDGE at 10: AM. I conducted to trenches – relieving 2 Leicestershire Rgt relief complete at 2 PM. Trenches hits for about 600 yards including GIVENCHY REDOUBT – MARIE KEEP and GUNNERS SIDING. Orders received at 8 PM that the Battalion would be relieved on the morning of the 20th – Situation normal - Two casualties wounded.

If my Grandfather was one of these two casualties, I'd bet he didn't think the situation was normal.

My Grandfather was sent home again to recover from his wounds, he never returned to the Western Front again. He was posted to the reserve unit and when he was fully fit for active service again by March 1917 he was posted to the Bedfordshire and Herts Regiment and onto India. This was something my Grandfather was never happy with, he would have done anything to rejoin his beloved Middlesex Regiment and be with his comrades again. He returned home in April 1919 and was posted to the class "Z" Reserves, finally being pensioned off with 40% capabilities on the 31st March 1920 after an Army career of 16 years and 285 days spanning an eighteen-year period. It would have been more but the Army did not recognise the 303 days he spent in the class "Z" Reserves.

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