Remembrance of a hero
Remembrance of a hero
Medals and Memorabilia connected with a WWII soldier and PoW have come up for auction
Seargeant Charles Douglas 'Pop' Goddard, whose belongings have come up for auction, was an exceptional soldier who served four miserable years in a Japanese PoW camp. Indeed 'The Fall of Hong Kong' by Tim Carew was dedicated to him, and assists in telling his story.
Goddard was born in Croydon in 1920. He signed up as a bandboy in the Middlesex regiment in 1936 and was posted to Singapore, then Hong Kong, the following year. He forced his way into the Machine Gun regiment after war was declared partly by deliberately playing badly.
Around this time he gained his nickname 'Pop' due to his prematurely thinnning hair.
Hong Kong was subjected to 12 days of bombing by the Japanese in 1941 followed by their landing for invasion. Goddard's men was assigned to support a regiment of Canadians, but found them beleagured, and their Seargeant flatly refused to attack the Japanese position on a hill.
Goddard lifted him off the ground to the astonishment of the Canadians, and challenged the man to either fight the Japanese or Goddard himself. He followed this by haranguing the Canadians into a successful bayonet attack on the ridge.
"Hell I did not want to go into the attack" said a Canadian Private afterwards "But the spirit of that B***ard was such that we had to go, which is praise".
Hong Kong then fell on Christmas day, and Goddard started four years as a PoW. During this time, despite seeing torture, he constantly tried to keep his fellow PoW's spirits up, and sabotaged work done towards the Japanese cause.
The lots up for auction include several medals, most notably a Military Medal won for the attack on the ridge, but also British Empire Medal (Military), Pacific Star, War Medal and Defence Medal.
The most remarkable item however is surely Goddard's mess tin, on which he etched the 10 names of his fellow Middlesex soldiers who had died on the campaign.
The tin, despite scratching, is in remarkable condition with all names including Goddard's, the regiment's emblem and the dates of service in Hong Kong all clear.