I’ve been holding back this photograph for ages so that it could be used as part of the unveiling ceremony and associated presentation at Blije, Friesland Province… but now I’m able to put it up here so that others can see it, too.
It was passed to me by Ger Boogmans and I couldn’t believe that there was my dad standing in the front row behind the seated airmen!!
I’m not sure of the date of the image but all those in the photo are from 7 Squadron – whether everyone who was in Stalag Luft III at that time is on there I don’t know… but there were certainly quite a few of them. I know that dad was transferred from Stalag Luft III, Sagan to Stal Luft VI, Heydegrug, near the town of what is now Silute in Lithuania. This camp was opened to British and Canadian Airmen from June 1943 and he was transferred there in June 1943. So, it appears to have been taken between June 1942 and June 1943 – and probably late summer of 1942 at a guess.
I don’t know who is on the ground, but in the seated row I can recognise from the left to right: 3rd from left Norman ‘Buck’ Tayler RAF, pilot and I believe that 4th from the right is Harry Spry RAF.
Standing far left is John ‘Jack’ Arnold RAF and just behind him is Sidney ‘Mac’ Macnamara RAF. Far right, standing is Edward ‘Ted’ Earngey RAAF, and standing directly behind the seated man wearing the light coloured scarf or cravat, is my dad, Bill Goodman RAF.
I have relatively few photos of him during the war so it was wonderful to receive it and be able to look at him all those years ago, a prisoner in actuality, but part of a group of men whose outlooks, even at the time, were prisoners of no-one. Ted Earngey, for example, was ‘Little S’ in connection with the Great Escape who used to hide tools within books that had been doctored for the purpose.
Missing from the line up seem to be Frank Henigman, RCAF and ‘Johnny Travis’ – known as ‘the dapper Rhodesian’ because of his smart dress code that hid the tools of his trade, in connection with the tunneling, upon his person.