View Full Version : Sergeant Bernard Cuthbert GOODWIN – No. 106 Squadron – DFM

6th June 2022, 22:38
Sergeant Bernard Cuthbert GOODWIN (1052825) – No. 106 Squadron – Distinguished Flying Medal – awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 March 1942. Information from Spink catalogue of 9 May 2002. Transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates. The recommendation states:

‘Sergeant Goodwin has flown 17 raids on enemy territory and has at all times proved to be a most reliable Wireless Operator [and Air Gunner] of considerable technical ability. He has never failed to make the most of opportunities of strafing enemy ground defences and aerodromes. On two daylight raids, he used his guns with good effect on a variety of objectives, including the bombing target itself, gun posts, trains and a ship in the Elbe. His opportunism and cheerful courage are invaluable and materially assists Sergeant Cooke and Sergeant Duff to form part of a crew which is outstanding in its achievements and is second to none in the Squadron’.

Pilot Officer Bernard Cuthbert Goodwin, DFM., had completed nearly 130 hours of operational flying in Hampens of No. 106 Squadron by the time of the above recommendation: The Hampden was the most urgent candidate for replacement: cruising at only 155 m.p.h., 10 m.p.h. slower than the other two [the Wellington and Whitley], this grotesque-looking flying glasshouse could stand little punishment, lacked power-operated turrets, and could carry only a 4000-lb. maximum bombload’. (Bomber Command by Max Hastings).

Notwithstanding these disturbing deficiencies, and with the exception of one or two visits to Scandinavia and to Brest to ‘blanket bomb’ the docks – and the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau – Goodwin’s targets were largely well-defended German ones, including Bremen on 20.10.1941, when he ‘machine-gunned the aerodrome from 1000 feet’. But probably the best summary for this period of his operational career can be found in the recommendation for the D.F.M. to his skipper, Sergeant G. Cooke, which confirms that some of his machine-gun attacks were carried out from as low an altitude as 300 feet:

‘Sergeant Cooke has captained his aircraft with a great degree of success on 13 operational sorties. After bombing his objective, he has frequently flown low to make machine-gun attacks on searchlights, gun posts and aerodromes. He bombed Kiel in the face of fierce opposition from only 7000 feet, attacked Huls from 4000 feet and one night in November 1941, having successfully planted a mine in a Norwegian Fjord, bombed Oslo docks from 300 feet and machine-gunned an aerodrome nearby. Apart from night raids, he has made two daylight sorties over North West Germany. On the first occasion, he made two separate low-level attacks on a factory near Nordenham and then, for one-and-a-quarter-hours, flew over enemy territory machine-gunning any targets which presented themselves. Three weeks later, he attacked Leer Railway Station from 300 feet. Sergeant Cooke has displayed outstanding zeal and initiative and his dashing courage is a tonic and example to the whole Squadron.

Cooke, who was from Southern Rhodesia, went on to be commissioned and win a D.F.C. in August 1942, while still serving as Pilot to the same crew in No. 106 Squadron. Goodwin, who was also commissioned, and converted to the role of Mid-Upper Gunner when the Squadron received its first Lancasters, died with his skipper on the night of 21.12.1942, when their aircraft was brought down over France following a strike on Munich. Aged 21 years, he was interred in Beaufort-en-Argonne cemetery.

For the last six months of his time with No. 106 Squadron, Goodwin’s C.O. had been none other than Wing Commander Guy Gibson. On leaving the Squadron in March 1943, Gibson was awarded a Bar to his D.S.O. (See Enemy Coast Ahead for further details).