Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 9 August 1942 to 7 September 1942

After our leave John and I reported to Dorval full of hope that we would be awarded our Observer badge and Sergeant's stripes with a quick flight home - but we were disappointed. First we saw Sqn Ldr Wight who told us we would have to go home to have our status clarified and could not therefore be retained by Ferry Command; this was a grievous blow.
I had just received the news when I ran into my pilot and radio officer (Messrs Mirepois and Highfield) who were looking for me to join them as Navigator on their next flight. This was to take a Liberator to Egypt via Trinidad, Brazil and West Africa so my disappointment was even more acute. However we still expected to fly home within a few days until last Thursday the final blow came - all Pensacola trained Wireless Ops and the three remaining Observers were told that they were to be sent home by sea as quickly as possible. Consequently we all caught the evening train that day for Moncton where we now are in a state of gloom. I think that for me the most depressing feature is the withdrawal of the prospect which had opened up; that was of travelling all over the world with Ferry Command and becoming a first-class air navigator.
Now I am visiting Moncton for the fourth time to find the camp grown out of all recognition since last October; there is an inevitable tightening of discipline so that the former relaxed atmosphere has gone. Or perhaps it is just my mood which is dominated by a desire to get home.

Friday, 28 August 1942. (on the Atlantic Ocean on board P&O liner 'Strathmore') Our stay in Moncton lasted until a week ago and was uneventful except that, as lowly LACs, the three of us (Pensacola trained Navigators) were detailed on occasion for unpleasant duties in camp - these included one day of dish washing in the mess.
At last we left last Friday when 660 of us boarded a special train in the new siding which has been built into the camp; we unfortunates from Pensacola were the only ones in the draft below the rank of Sergeant. On arrival at Halifax, and on boarding the 'Strathmore', we were somewhat apprehensive as to our conditions on the ship but we have been lucky. We have berths (not hammocks) with Canadian Sergeant-Majors and have our meals with them in a small mess.
The 'Strathmore' is carrying a contingent of Canadian troops as well as the RAF draft, a few WAAF's and Canadian nurses; we have the use of the Sergeants promenade deck, bar etc and altogether this is by far the most comfortable of my three crossings. We have hopes of sighting land tomorrow and naturally I am excited at the prospect of seeing Moira - it has been a long and sometimes discouraging time since last October.

Monday, 7 September 1942. (at Bournemouth) We landed at Shieldhall Dock, Glasgow last Monday after a good voyage culminating in the trip up the Clyde from Greenock. A special train brought us here the next day and now we are just waiting to go on leave.


Editor's note: There is a gap in the diaries from 8 September 1942 until 21 January 1945. In 1985 Bill recalled his experiences and these are recorded below along with extracts from original documents.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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