THE life of a Leeds airman who died after the Halifax bomber he was in was shot down over Denmark 70 years ago is being researched in Australia.
Herbert Ivor Goodwill, who originates from Middleton, was an air gunner in the Second World War but tragically died after the aircraft he was travelling in was shot down by German gunners on January 9, 1943.
His memory has been revived by amateur historian Andrew Macdonald, a British expat living in Australia, who bought the condolence letter, which is addressed to Herbert’s parents to notify them of his death, from an online antiques dealer in the UK.
Herbert was part of a Halifax bomber crew that set off from RAF Rufforth, near York, to drop mines over Denmark.
But their plane was shot as they crossed the west coast before it crashed, killing all but one of the seven-strong crew that was on board.
Peter Skinner, who died in 2009, was the only survivor of the crash.
Mr Macdonald, 39, said: “It is a part of my life and a great pleasure to pay tribute to just a few young men that gave absolutely everything they had. I didn’t know anything at all about Herbert until I discovered this letter.”
Herbert, who was born in December 1921, was the oldest of four children to Richard Armstrong Goodwill and Effie Goodwill, from Middleton.
His sisters were Vera and Muriel, while his brother was Desmond Goodwill, who it is thought settled in York during the 1980s and would be aged 83 now.
Mr Macdonald, a 39-year-old office manager who used to live in Kent, added: “A long time has passed since he was lost, I know, but it is amazing what can and often does surface long after the event.
“I have only ever wanted to pay my respects to men like Herb – he deserves to be remembered.”
Mr Macdonald lives in Brisbane, Australia. To get in touch email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at: 4 Bunny Street, Everton Park, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 4053, or call + 00 61 7 3955 9981.