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200377 Private Richard Edwin Goodier MM 2/4th Battalion

Richard Edwin Goodier was born on the 16th July 1896 in Preston, the middle child of the three sons born to his parents John and Martha Goodier (nee Hurstwick). His parents had married in St. Andrew`s Church, Ashton on Ribble, Preston on the 21st November 1892. Their eldest son, John was born in 1895 and their youngest, Thomas Alan was born in 1898.

In 1901 Richard and his family lived at 20 Hesketh Street where his father was a joiner by trade. The family also had a lodger, a single lady, Mary J. Dowbiggin aged 47 years old who was `living on her own means`. Ten years later in 1911 the family were still resident at the same address where Richard`s father was listed as a carpenter and his mother a dressmaker. Richard was working as a plumber, his brother John was a house painter while his youngest brother Thomas was still at school.

Unfortunately Richard`s service papers are not available so his actual date of enlistment is unknown. He was originally issued with the service number 1728 which in January 1917 would become 200377. At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a plumber by Messrs. Marsden Limited of Lancaster Road in Preston. (Note; his Medal Index Card and the Medal Rolls list him as Edwin Goodier rather than Richard Edwin and he is also referred to as Private E. Goodier in newspaper articles). Richard`s signature (E. Goodier) appears on the Roll of Volunteers for Service Abroad that was signed in the Public Hall in Preston on the 8th August 1914.

Richard embarked for France on the 7th February 1917 as a member of the 2/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, the Battalion coming under the command of 170th Brigade of 57th (West Lancashire) Division.

On the 31st July 1917 the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) began and had almost immediately become bogged down in the mud caused by heavy rain. Further attempts to advance were made over the coming weeks, but objectives of the first day were still in German hands. On the 26th October a further attempt was made to capture the village of Passchendaele itself, was planned.

The men were in the trenches by 4.30am, 70 minutes later, the British artillery barrage opened on “No Man`s Land”, and the German front line, effectively preventing the Germans from manning their front line strong points. The men went “over the top” keeping only 25 – 30 yards behind the protection of the barrage.

The Regimental History records “Despite the mud and water-logged shell craters, the line advanced steadily behind our own barrage and under slight enemy machine-gun fire until about 6am. At about 6.20 the troops were finally held up at the Green line, a barrier of machine-gun fire being opened up by the machine-guns in the pill-boxes immediately in front of a farm building. This strong point held 30 men who were killed or wounded by Lewis gun and rifle-fire and bombs”.

During the above advance, about forty enemy aircraft repeatedly flew over the troops at low altitude causing some casualties.

The Regimental History continues “From 6.30pm the troops were compelled to lie low in water-logged shell holes owing the sweeping machine-gun fire and constant sniping from men posted in trees, shell craters and pill-boxes”.

Although pinned down, the North Lancashire`s drove off a German counter-attack with Lewis gun and rifle fire, but they realised that the battalion on their left had not been able to advance. The unit on the right had advanced but had been forced back. This now left the men in a dangerous position.

The History continues “Communication with Battalion H.Q. was almost impossible as runners were shot down in attempting to get back reports of progress; telephone communication was only possible with the Battalion on the left. Heavy rain began to fall about midday. The right and left flanks were up in the air, most of the Lewis guns and rifles were out of action and the men reduced in number and exhausted through exposure and being in water-logged craters for two days and two nights. For the above reason, it was considered necessary to withdraw to the original line and this was effected by 9pm. During the withdrawal, most of the wounded were brought back to our lines”.

In this days` battle the 57th Division encountered very severe losses in which the 2/4th Battalion bore it`s full share. 3 Officers were killed, 58 other ranks killed or died of wounds and 38 men were missing.

After the Battalion`s involvement in the action on the 26th October 1917, a number of men were awarded the Military Medal, Richard Edwin Goodier being one of them. A list of the soldiers recommended for the MM for their gallantry on the 26th October 1917 appears in the Battalion War Diary;

  • 18069 Sergeant W. Lees
  • 200657 Sergeant H. Smith
  • 200817 Corporal A. Linford
  • 200785 Corporal T. Wareing
  • 202357 Corporal F. Nutter
  • 201185 Private (L/Cpl) T. Lowe
  • 200692 Private R. Ashcroft
  • 200377 Drummer E. Goodier *(his number in the Diary is incorrectly stated as 203769)
  • 200917 Private R. Smith
  • 202224 Private J. B. Poulton
  • 201164 Drummer J. Mills
  • 200827 Private (L/Cpl) T.W. Brown
  • 200707 Private (L/Cpl) W. Bibby
  • 200880 Cpl. J. Atherton (Bar to MM)

In late December 1917 Richard was at home on furlough when the news of his Military Medal award was confirmed, the Lancashire Evening Post reporting under the date 31st December 1917;

“Pte. E. Goodier, L.N.Lancs Regiment, son of Mr. & Mrs. Goodier of 20 Hesketh Street, Ashton on Ribble has been officially informed of the award to him of the Military Medal for gallant conduct in the field. During operations in the face of the enemy on October 26th (1917) he successfully carried to a place of safety seven men and an Officer. His heroic action was accomplished under heavy shell and machine-gun fire.

Prior to the war, Pte. Goodier was an apprentice with Messrs. Marsden Ltd., Plumbers, Lancaster Road, Preston. He has just returned to the front after a brief furlough.

Goodier has an elder brother in the same regiment. Both brothers attended St. Andrew`s School”.

Richard survived the war having served with the 2/4th Battalion LNL throughout. He was finally disembodied on the 13th July 1919.

After the war as well as his Military Medal he also received the Territorial Force War Medal together the British War and Victory Medals.

Richard returned to the plumbing trade after the war and in 1921 he was working in London as a plumber when he married Pearl Rosalind Monica, a spinster of 40 Cricklewood Lane, Cricklewood, the date of the marriage given as 21st May 1921. On the marriage details Richard`s address was stated as being 20 Hesketh Street in Preston. After their marriage the couple returned to Preston where they had four children.

In 1939 Richard, Pearl and their family were living at 31 Shaftesbury Avenue in Penwortham, Richard was still working as a plumber and the record also notes that he was a member of the Observer Corps.

Richard passed away in the March quarter of 1981 aged 85 years and Pearl died two years later in 1983.

201916 Corporal John Goodier 2/4th Battalion

John Goodier attested on the 11th December 1915 and was immediately posted to the Reserve. He was mobilised on the 26th January 1916 and subsequently posted to the 4th Battalion LNL. John confirmed his trade as a painter and named his mother Martha of 20 Hesketh Street, Preston as his legal next of kin.

He embarked for France on the 7th February 1917 with the 2/4th Battalion LNL, the same regiment as his brother. His service record shows that on the 15th April 1917 he appeared before an F.G.C.M. (Field General Court Martial) having been charged with “leaving his post as Sentinel before he was regularly relieved”). He was found guilty as charged and sentenced to 1 years` imprisonment but his sentence was then suspended.

According to his papers, John seems to have tried hard to make amends for his earlier mistake and by the 24th November 1917 he had been appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid). His papers then show that on the 15th January 1918 his 1 year suspended prison sentence was remitted, the following explanation appears in his record;

“Pte. Goodier showed devotion to duty during the attack on the 26th October 1917. He was one of a few men in a forward post and remained there until relieved. His conduct during the period under review has been very good and he has tried to gain a remission of sentence. I therefore recommend that his sentence be remitted”.

Signed by Lieut.Colonel Commanding 2/4th Battalion LNL.

By the 19th July 1918 John had been further promoted into the rank of Corporal.

On the 26th August 1918 the Second Battle of Arras began and it was during the first phase known as the Battle of Scarpe 25th – 30th August 1918 that John was wounded.

Battalion account of the operations of 29th August 1918

“Moved up to the front line, taking over from the 2/4th South Lancashire’s. Zero hour was 1pm and our first objective was the Hendecourt-Bullecourt Road, the second being Greyhound Trench. The first objective was to be taken without a barrage; and our left flank was unprotected owing to the Canadians being 1,000 yards away. We succeeded in gaining our objective, and the Battalion on our right, the 2/5th King`s Own Royal Lancaster, captured Riencourt. Our objective was taken by 2pm.

The Battalion held on to its objective during the night of the 29th – 30th, although the enemy attacked about 12.35pm on the 30th in large numbers, he was beaten off three times, suffering heavy casualties. Owing to the Battalion on our right having to retire from Riencourt, we were ordered about 1.30pm to withdraw to Cemetery Avenue, and this line the Battalion held until relieved about 4pm by the 171st Brigade, when we moved back to the support area, and the following night was passed in Tunnel Trench”.

John had suffered a serious gun-shot wound in the neck during the action and was removed first of all to 19 CCS then 43 CCS, sadly, he passed away as a result of his wounds in 113 Casualty Clearing Station on the 5th September 1918.

A number of John`s personal effects were later returned to his family in Preston, these included; 1 ID Disc, 1 letter, 2 notebooks, 1 whistle, 1 cap badge, 1 defaced coin and 1 bead bracelet and ring.

John was later buried in Ligny-Sur-Canche British Cemetery.

After the war John`s mother took receipt of his British War and Victory Medals and she would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

The name of Private John Goodier is also remembered on the Preston Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in his hometown of Preston; the original submission form is shown below.

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 201916
Date of Death: 05/09/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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