A day to remember those of our enlisted men who died while defending our country.When ANZAC day comes around we honour the heroic deeds of those who survived battles in spite of being faced with difficult odds and the number of the enemy that fell to achieve these ends.
The story I wish to tell is of a twenty-year-old young man, Warren Goddard. He wanted to be an exceptional pilot like his father and brother, so after leaving school, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force. He was a bright lad and was able to enter the Point Cook Academy, and after a year with a mixture of partying with his mates and trying to study, he found that possibly the emphasis should have been more on the side of study. Nevertheless, with the determination to stay in the force and be an Air Force pilot the option left for him was to join the forces Basic Flying School, training on Vampire jets out of the Pearce Air Force Base North of Perth in W.A.
Although he had obtained his pilots licence at the age of Seventeen, and before entering the air force, he had developed his skills enough to impress the instructors, and out of the whole course, he was one of only three that were considered good enough to fly fighters.
Things had never looked better for Warren or Bill as most knew him. He had a lovely girlfriend who was a qualified nurse, and they were planning to marry in the following month.
It was August 1966 and Warren had progressed to flying Sabre jets out of Williamtown, in New South Wales. The Sabre he was flying was one that had been used extensively by the Black Diamond Aerobatic Group. It was a stormy night and one wonders why they chose to fly in such inclement weather.
From what we understand the gyro system, which tells you your relationship to the ground can be hard to read on this aircraft, and often under the conditions of having several G forces of pressure on your body and trying to keep your wits about you is a difficult task for the best of pilots. It was thought that he possibly found himself inverted, and thinking he was climbing but in fact he was diving towards the ground. In an effort to pull out of this dive in this aircraft which had already been through a lot in its life, decided to break up in flames. He could have bailed out then and there but the aircraft would have crashed into the city of Newcastle, resulting in multiple loss of life, so he held it up as long as he could, with the hope he’d make the ocean to eject. The aircraft was seen as a streak of flames heading East towards the coast. Sadly, young Warren William Goddard didn’t make the ocean. He did eject but just too late to save his life.
Now young Bill didn’t fight any battles in a far-off land. He fought a battle to save Australian lives right here in Australia as a pilot for the Royal Australian Air Force. The devastating effect on his family, friends and the young nurse he was soon to marry would be the very much the same if he’d been killed flying in Vietnam, but it wasn’t, it was on our home soil.
If you travel to Newcastle and go to the area called the Junction, you will find a plaque that testifies to the bravery of this young man.
Now I fought in Vietnam with 6 Battalion, which was an ANZAC battalion, and I was in the thick of it, so I guess that makes me a true ANZAC. The truth is, I don’t see myself as a hero at all. To me a hero saves lives, as in the case of Warren William Goddard, who I’m very proud to say he was my brother.