Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 5 May 1942 to 12 May 1942

We did have a couple of two hour flights for aerial gunnery a week ago and I suppose they were of some value; on the first flight we fired from each of four gun positions in the Catalina at sea targets (50 rounds from each) but the second trip was much better. Each man had 100 rounds of different coloured ammunition which he fired at a towed target from the bow or starboard waist positions. The gunners plane overtook the towing plane at about 30mph relative speed and so a certain amount of deflection had to be given. The front turret is hand operated and very difficult to manoeuvre but, as this is the Observer's gun position in the Catalina, it is the most important to us.
We have had two midweek days off recently but no weekends, and on one of these days I had a wonderful trip with the Gervins who took me to the Edge Water Golf Hotel between Gulfport and Biloxi on the coast about 130 miles from here. This is a really luxurious hotel which was a great contrast to service life and Syd & Vera Gervin made this a memorable occasion.
I must try to get more exercise in spite of the wearing heat as I find that my weight has risen to 12st 5lbs - I must be eating too much.

Tuesday, 12 May 1942. Our crew of eight cadets - Alec Flett, Dennis Ansley, Leslie Capp, Norman Mallett, Reg Smith, Jim Lawlor, Frank Lewis and myself - had to rush around collecting the necessary instruments, papers, food, parachutes etc and we eventually took off about 8.30am to patrol a sector 140-150 degrees from Pensacola for 250 miles on each leg. It was a beautiful day and we soon settled into our positions - Alec and Norman tracking, Leslie and Dennis DR navigation, Jim and Frank drift sights and Reg and I doing astro work. Also a sharp watch had to be maintained for hostile submarines which have sunk a great many ships recently in the Gulf and for this reason we carried four 350lb anti-submarine bombs.
All went smoothly with little of interest until about midday when a sub was sighted and the four bombs were dropped - we circled for about 20 minutes and a large brown patch appeared but no other evidence was forthcoming. The navigation worked out well so that we made the coast after 7 hours over the sea, only six miles from Pensacola within five minutes of our estimated time of arrival. These were the first bombs dropped in the area and we all had to appear before the CO to give evidence so it was very exciting.
On Saturday it was my turn at DR Navigation and it was made difficult by the fact that 250 miles out from Pensacola we contacted a destroyer with which we patrolled in company for over an hour; consequently our course changed frequently so that our position was a matter of conjecture and we reached the coast some distance from our base. However my log was favourably marked and I was reasonably satisfied.
Again on Sunday we were airborne before 7am feeling rather tired. On this occasion our track lay over the Mississippi delta and about 40 miles from the mouth a torpedoed tanker which we had been ordered to locate and pick up survivors. We had a doctor on board but on arrival at the ship two auxiliary naval vessels were trying to get the tanker in tow which they succeeded in doing after 3 hours. The tanker was listing badly to port and had two gaping holes amidships but I think that she would reach port safely although an oil streak was visible for miles.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

Back to previous page  Page 14

Go to next page

 To go straight to a specific page, click on the page number below:

 1  3  5  7  9  11  13  15  17  19




 29  31  33  35  37  39

 43  45  47
 2  4  6  8  10  12  14

 18  20  22  24  26  28  30  32  34  36  38  40  42  44  46  48