William Goad GC (AM non-exchanger)

b. 10/05/1922 St Ives, Cambridgeshire. d. 25/12/1994 Ely, Cambridgeshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 20-21/09/1942 North Atlantic.

William “Bill” Goad (1922-1994) was born on 10th May 1922 in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, the 3rd son and 4th child of Tom and Ida Goad (nee Clarke). His two brothers were named John and James and his two sisters were Molly and Betty. His father worked as a foreman on a local farm at Swaversea, until he bought his own farm near Stretham, where the children all attended the local primary school.

William Goad GC

When Bill was 15, in 1937, Bill enlisted with the Royal Navy and saw service in the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Far East during the Second World War. In 1941, he met Sarah (Sally) Hughes from Glasgow and they married in 1943. They had three sons, Christopher, Patrick and Martin. Sally had the distinction of not only being married to a future GC but also her brother, Joseph, would be awarded the GC posthumously for actions in Hong Kong during the war.

On the night of 20th-21st September 1942, he was aboard HMS Ashanti in the North Atlantic. When HMS Somali was torpedoed by U-703, the Ashanti came alongside to help rescue the crew. Goad volunteered to be lowered on a line over the side of his ship, into water that was well below freezing, to rescue an unconscious man. A full gale was blowing and there was a very great risk that he would be either washed away by the breaking waves, or swept under the bilge keel of the ship, which was rolling heavily.

Bill was awarded the Albert Medal for Lifesaving at Sea on 22nd January 1943, and returned to service in the Far East for the remainder of the war. He was presented with his AM at Buckingham Palace by King George VI on 27th July 1943. He stayed in the Navy after the end of the war, serving in Korea, before retiring as a Petty Officer in 1951. He was released to the Reserve from which he finally retired as a Chief Petty Officer on 6th October 1953. Bill returned to Cambridgeshire where he joined his brother John (known as Jack) on the family farm. They eventually took over the farm when their father retired in 1961. Bill managed the 300-head herd of beef cattle at which he became an expert, while Jack ran the arable side of the farm.

In 1971, Bill turned down the opportunity to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross, believing that the offer was a slight on all Albert and Edward Medallists. A few years later, he and Sally built a bungalow together and he passed the farm onto another family member. Bill retired in 1987, but following Sally’s death the following year, he enrolled as a volunteer driver with the local social services, and became a popular local figure. Bill passed away on Christmas Day 1994, aged 72, and was cremated at Maddingly Crematorium and his ashes scattered. A funeral service was held on 5th January 1995. Bill’s medals including his AM, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Burma Star, Africa Star, War Medal 1939-45, Korea Medal, UN Medal with Korea clasp, Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are proudly held by the Goad family.