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Harold Godwin

Servicenumber : 14342153
Rank : Private
Regiment : The Parachute Regiment
Unit : 11th Battalion
Date of Death : 25-09-1944
Age : 21
Grave : Plot 1. Grave 7.
Harold Godwin was a son of Samuel John and Mary Godwin, of Stoke-on-Trent.
According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 2011) Godwin was in C-47 42-93001, which crashed in a field in De Meent at Rhenen on 18 september 1944. He jumped before the plane went down, landed safely, and made it back to other troops of his brigade. His body was recovered from the river Lek on 15 november 1944.
Company Sergeant Major Gatland was in the same plane as Godwin. He is quoted in the book 'Arnhem Their Final Battle' about the firt day of Market Garden on pages 53: "Not long after we had left England I saw the fields and dykes of Holland and I knew that we had not far to go from that point. The next thing that happened was a sound in the plane like someone was throwing a handful of hard peas against the belly. We suddenly saw little puffs of black smoke appearing in the sky around us. We realised that these were anti-aircraft shell, bursting in the sky. At that time we were about 800 feet from the ground. At first it just hit the bottom, but then it started coming through. You could see the tracers coming up and just going through the floor."
On page 55 Company Sergeant Major Gatland is quoted again: "Then the red light 'Action Stations' came on and we got up and hooked up. At this time we were about 500 feet from the ground and we suddenly heard a curious rattling noise on the plane and Private Carroll shouting that he had been hit in the hand. I looked at his hand and told him it wasn't too bad and that he would be okay. At that time the plane gave a sudden lurch and started to make a shallow dive towards the ground. I looked out and could see smoke going past the window, pouring out of the starboard engine. Captain King shouted that we were flying well below the rest of the formation at about 250 feet from the ground. King ordered me to open the bulkhead door into the pilot's compartment and when I did I saw a mass of smoke and flame. I closed the door and told King that the plane was going down. The light was still red, but King made the decision to jump and ordered his wounded batman, Carroll, to jump immediately after him. There was a certain disorder, but no panic at all. Some of the men were wounded due to the fire from the ground. King shouted, "Go, Go, Go" and out we went."
The pilot of the plane, Captain Merz, managed to crashland the plane in a field. His navigator and wireless operator were killed and his 2nd pilot was wounded. Together with Private McNaught of 11th Battalion, who was still on the plane, he got the wounded co-pilot out and they ran away from the crash site and were met by members of the Dutch resistance. 
The group of men of 11th Battalion under command of Captain King, including Harold Gowin, managed to reach the rest of the brigade at down of 19 september
Picture: 12-09-2016
For King and country
He did his best,
In the arms of Jesus
A British soldier rests
Sources: Website CWGC


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