Veteran Stories:
Terry Goodwin

Air Force

  • Sketch of the Lorient, 61 Sqd., February 1943. The crew were F/Sgt H.T. Goodwin, Sgt Lewis, W/O Rooney, Sgt Baggs, Sgt Hamblett, Sgt Sampson and Sgt Jones.

  • American-born H. Terry Goodwin, who joined the RCAF in 1941.

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"You just did everything you were supposed to do and it worked out okay in my case."


I'm Terry Goodwin and I served with the Royal Canadian Air Force. And when I was lining up to get my uniform in February of 1941, somebody said, "Who's from the west?" And a lot of hands went up. "Who's from the east?" A few more hands went up. And then somebody said, "And who's from the States?" And a lot of hands went up. In fact, at that particular time, 50 percent of the intake here in Toronto were from the States.

Now, I'd never been in an aircraft until I got my first dual instruction in a De Havilland Tiger Moth on July 15, 1941. And I got my wings on a Harvard St. Dunville December the 5th. Now that's two days before Pearl Harbor. Christmas of '41 was in Halifax in a blizzard and then 17 days in convoy to England. I flew Lancasters, which are four-engine aircraft had a great deal of flexibility in their bomb loads and did an excellent job. They did have a loss ration in bomber command, at that time, of approximately 5 percent on each raid. So that after you'd done ten trips, you'd used up 50 percent of your chances. Twenty trips, you'd used up all your chances, but your tour was thirty trips. It didn't work out quite that way because some people afterwards, pulling all the figures apart, figured that maybe 10 or 11 percent got through their first and second tours.

But then after instructing for six months I was sent back and this time on Mosquitoes, which were a wooden aircraft designed to carry a thousand pounds of bombs. When they test flew it they decided it should carry two thousand. And that's the way we got it. Ours had all bombs and no guns. But, obviously, there were other models that had lots of guns for various different purposes. Or mixtures of guns and bombs. So we had these two thousand pound Mosquitoes, Mark IV B, and then they went ahead and increased the bomb bay and we carried a four thousand pounder. A cookie. We carried that first to the Ruhr and then, eventually, all the way to Berlin. And it kept Jerry awake many, many nights.

Now as far as flying on Mosquitoes are concerned, that aircraft was a joy to fly. It had an unfortunate habit of wanting to swing to the left on take off because of the high torque, perhaps rotating. It was touch and go getting off. But the loss rate was considerably lower on Mosquitoes. They were very fast and on our very first trip when we were making this white condensation trails... con trails... we were chased a Focke-Wulf 190 and actually ran away from him. It was an advantage to fly them even though there were no guns. You just did everything you were supposed to do and it worked out okay in my case.

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