Brigadier General Henry Goddard

13 December 1869 - 24 October 1955

AWM Negative Number: P02483.002 Caption: North Sydney, NSW. 6 March 1938. Trooping the Colour ceremony by the 17th Battalion (The North Sydney Regiment) at St Leonards Park. The ceremony was the first occasion on which a regimental trooping was performed by a militia regiment on the northern side of Sydney Harbour. Standing at the flag pole erected in the middle of the park are, from left to right: Brigadier General H. A. Goddard, CMG, DSO, VD, Honorary Colonel of the 17th Battalion; Colonel C. A. Callaghan, CMG, DSO, VD, commander of the 8th Infantry Brigade; Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Gallagher (Black Jack) Galleghan, ED; Lieutenant Colonel F. W. Lennox, Staff Corps, Assistant Adjutant of the 1st Division; Reviewing Officer, Brigadier J. L. Hardie, DSO, OBE, commander ofthe 1st Division. (Souvenir brochure located in Research Centre at AWM54, Item 729/3/20) Photographer: Turner, Harry

Henry Arthur Goddard was born in West Hackney, in Middlesex, England on 13 December 1869, the son of an insurance clerk. Goddard immigrated to Australia in 1890. He settled in Brisbane where he worked as a clerk. He experimented with growing malted barley on the Darling Downs. He was also consul for Paraguay from 1906 to 1915.

In England, Goddard had been a sergeant in the Essex Rifle Volunteers. On 30 November 1899 he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Moreton Regiment. On 11 February 1913 he was promoted to lieutenant and given command of the regiment. On his frequent business trips overseas he observed military manoeuvres in Europe.

When war broke out in 1914, Goddard was placed in charge of the Brisbane Defences. On 16 March 1915 he was appointed to the AIF with the rank of lieutenant colonel and given command of the 25th Infantry Battalion. He expected to take this battalion overseas but on 9 May 1915 he was suddenly ordered to take over command of the 17th Infantry Battalion, which was just about to sail for Egypt. Goddard considered it a great blow to have to leave the battalion that he had built up, and a definite setback to his career. He took charges of the 17th Infantry Battalion on 12 May, on board the transport Themistocles.

The 17th Infantry Battalion arrived in Egypt on 12 June 1915 where it trained until ordered forward to Anzac, departed for Gallipoli on 16 August 1915. It left, however, without Goddard, who was hospitalised with intestinal poisoning. He managed to get himself cleared by the medical authorities and departed on the next available ship, the Southland, which was torpedoed en route on 2 September 1915. Goddard finally managed to make it Anzac on 6 September 1915, taking over command of the 17th Infantry Battalion. That day, he took over command of Quinn's Post, the most exposed and most dangerous position in the line. He remained in command of Quinn's Post until Anzac was evacuated on 20 December 1915. Goddard was in command of the last party there, departing the post at 2:35am.

The 17th Infantry arrived at Lemnos on 20 November 1915, and Alexandria on 4 January 1916. It proceeded to Tel El Kebir on 8 January 1916. Goddard had managed to remain in the line at Gallipoli only by ignoring a serious case of dysentery. Now he was admitted to hospital on 18 January 1916. On 10 April 1916, he was evacuated to Australia, returning on 18 May 1916.

Cleared by the medical authorities, Goddard travelled to Sydney on 16 July 1916 to rejoin the AIF. On 1 August 1916 he sailed from Melbourne on board HMAT Miltiades, a troop transport carrying reinforcements. Reporting to AIF Headquarters in London on 26 September 1916, he was on 13 October 1916 once again given command of a New South Wales battalion preparing to embark, this time the 35th Infantry Battalion, part of the new 3rd Division, training on the Salisbury Plain in England. The battalion arrived in France on 22 November 1916.

Goddard led the 35th Infantry Battalion at Messines on 6 June 1917, at Broodeseinde on 4 October 1917 and Passchendaele on 12 October 1917. For his part, Goddard was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in the 1918 New Year's List. He was acting commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade (of which the 35th Infantry Battalion was a part) for short periods in May, August and October 1917 and for over a month from 5 January 1918 to 18 February 1918.

On 3 April 1918, Brigadier General C. Rosenthal placed Goddard in command of all troops at Villers-Bretonneux, where he established his headquarters. The next morning the Germans attacked his troops. A full scale battle developed, the First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux controlled by Goddard, who acted almost as a brigade commander, moving his battalions around in response to the enemy's moves, and launching the counterattack that finally restored the situation. For this battle, Goddard was again mentioned in dispatches.

At the Battle of Morlancourt on 5 May 1918, Rosenthal once again placed Goddard in command of the main operation. Then on 21 May 1918, Goddard took over as commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade. On 1 June 1918 he was promoted to full colonel and temporary brigadier general. He led the brigade at Bray-sur-Somme and the attack on the Hindenburg Line. For these battles, Goddard was mentioned in dispatches once more and made a Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1919 New Year's list.

Goddard moved to Sydney after the war where he pursued his business and military interests. He commanded the 14th Infantry Brigade from 1921 to 1926 and was honorary colonel of the 17th Infantry Battalion. He was placed on the retired list in 1931 with the rank of brigadier general.

Goddard was joined in his importing company, H. A. Goddard Pty Ltd, by his son Horace, who had served as a private in the 35th Infantry Battalion during the war. Goddard continued to travel, and was commercial representative of The Times in Australia. He died at the Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney on 24 October 1955 and was cremated.

The Official Historian, Captain C. E. W. Bean described Goddard as "a leader not physically robust, and marked in the past for the kindliness and courtesy rather than the virility of his methods, but nevertheless brave, devoted and of long experience, both in the militia and at Quinn's Post".

Sources: Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1899-1939, Vol 9, pp. 37-38; Bean, C. E. W., The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. Volume V: The AIF In France During the German Offensives 1918, pp. 314-355; VI: The AIF In France During the Allied Offensives 1918, pp. 76; AWM 183/21

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Last update 12 January 2002