GOODRICH, John Edmund

No.83353, Bombardier, John Edmund GOODRICH
Aged 34

68th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Killed in Action on Monday, 30th April 1917

John Edmund Goodrich was born in Mildenhall in 1882 (Mildenhall Q4-1882 4A:633), son of John and Sarah Ann GOODRICH (née BOXALL).

1891 census...Aged 8, he was at Mill Street, Mildenhall with his father John GOODRICH [42] bank manager born Mildenhall; his mother Sarah Ann [44] born Lewes, Sussex; sisters Sarah [7] and Katherine M [6], both born in Mildenhall. His sister Maria Louise has not been found.

1901 census...Aged 18, a bank clerk, he was boarding with draper George GRAY and his family at 27 Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. At Mill Street, Mildenhall were his parents and sisters Sarah E [17], Maria L [15], Katherine M [13]and his aunt Katherine A Goodrich [61].

1911 census...Aged 28, single, a bank clerk, he was boarding at 47 Warwick Road, Redhill, Reigate, Surrey. At Bank House, Mill Street, Mildenhall were his parents and sisters Sarah Elizabeth and Katherine Mary. He was working at Capital and Counties Bank.

He enlisted in Redhill, Surrey.
A report in Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph dated Wednesday 9th May 1917 detailed how three of their local men had died when a shell landed in their dug-out. They rest beside John Goodrich so one can assume the four men from 68th Siege battery died together. It seems very likely that they were near Thelus (just NNE from Arras) since 4 guns had been moved there a few days earlier. According to the concentration card they were originally buried (identified by crosses) as shown below and re-interred in St Cathrine cemetery, Arras in 1919.

The Siege Batteries deployed 9.2 inch howitzers, capable of firing a 300 lb shell about 6 miles (132 Kgm to 10 Km). The large box in front of the gun here contains 10 ton of soil to anchor the gun. It was not a gun to be moved quickly or often, without the earth in the box, the unit still weighed over 12 ton. Back behind the lines it still had to be concealed as far as possible as of course, once it's position was discovered it was a nice steady target for the enemy's equivalent batteries.

The Bury Free Press of 12th May 1917 reported:-

Death has been busy of late amongst soldiers from this locality, and much sympathy has been aroused by the news recently received that Bombardier John Edmund Goodrich, of the Royal; Garrison Artillery, and only son of Mr. and Mrs. John Goodrich, of Bank House, Mildenhall, has been killed in action. Details of the sad event were conveyed to the parents in a letter from Major Robertson, the officer commanding the battery, who says:-
"Dear Mr.Goodrich, - it is with the deepest sorrow I write to inform you that your son, Bombardier Goodrich J.E. was killed yesterday afternoon. He was an extremely good fellow, much loved by all the men, and an excellent soldier, always working harder probably harder than anyone in the Battery. The Battery at the time was under hostile enemy fire, and I had all the men in deep dug-outs. He was sitting on the bottom steps of his dug-out, when a shell burst absolutely in the entrance, killing him instantly. Even up to the last he was working with his note book checking ammunition figures, a work I had asked him to take over a month or so ago, and a labour he did so efficiently. Three other men were killed in the same dug-out so we are all suffering very much the the present time. Again, may I send you the deepest sympathy on behalf of all the officers and men of the Battery. His loss is a huge one to the Battery. I will let you know where he is buried and take an interest in the grave".
Before joining the Army, Bombardier J.E. Goodrich served in the Surrey V.T.C. and attained the rank of Corporal. Following the footsteps of his father, the deceased soldier was engaged in bank work and held an appointment in the Capital and Counties Bank at Redhill. He was 32 years of age.....

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo:Rodney Gibson

John Goodrich is buried in Ste Catherine British Cemetery, Arras, grave L:18
and also commemorated on the Culford School war memorial.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details