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Goodchild, James Caleb

James Caleb Goodchild
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Private James Caleb Goodchild (3062)
Son of Edward & Sarah Goodchild
Father's occupation: Carter
Born 1891 at Wokingham
3 sisters, 3 brothers, position in family: 6
Relatives: Brother of 6516 Pte Joseph Goodchild & 055543 Driver George Goodchild
Infant School:Hurst Infants
Senior School:Hurst Boys
Admitted:2nd May 1898
Age on admission:7
Left school:Friday 15th May 1903
Age at leaving:12
Local address: Hinton Cottages, Hurst
Pre-war occupation: Engine Driver
Enlisted:Perth, W.A., Thursday 30th November 1916
Regiment:Australian Forces
Battalion:Machine Gun Corps
Went overseas:Monday 29th January 1917
Comments:To Devonport

James Goodchild was born in Wokingham in December 1890 to Edward and Sarah Goodchild, the second youngest of eight children. He lived with his four brothers and three sisters in Hinton Cottages, Hinton Road, Hurst. James's father worked as a carter on a farm and his mother earned money as a wood chopper. James attended Hurst Infants School and at the age of seven he moved up to Hurst Boys School.

James left school at the age of twelve and about eight years later he emigrated to Western Australia as a general labourer. On 22nd September 1911 he sailed on a third class ticket from London aboard the S.S. Australind. The S.S. Australind was a refrigerated steam ship of 5,563 tons and took seven weeks to reach Fremantle. Within two years James was joined in Western Australia by his younger brother Joseph.

James subsequently became an Engine Driver in Perth and at the outset of the First World War he was rejected for service in the Army because of poor eyesight. His brother enlisted in March 1916 and, when James reapplied later in the year, he passed the medical and joined up on 30th November 1916. James was 25 years old, six feet tall and weighed 11 stones 8 pounds; he had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. His rate of pay was five shillings per day, and once overseas he would receive two shillings with the remainder being paid in Australia. James's permanent address at the time of enlistment was 575 Wellington Road, Perth.

James trained at Blackboy Hill Camp on the outskirts of Perth for two months before embarking on HMAT Miltiades at Fremantle on 29th January 1917 as part of the 7th Reinforcements for 11th Battalion, AIF. The sea journey to England took eight weeks and included stopovers in South Africa and Sierra Leone before James disembarked at Devonport on 27th March 1917. A diary by John Addison Huntley describes the voyage on the Miltiades.

James underwent further training at Fovant Camp in Wiltshire before joining 11th Training Battalion at Durrington on Salisbury Plain. On 20th July he was selected to join the Machine Gun Corps and transferred to the Machine Gun Training Centre at Grantham in Lincolnshire. After three months training James was ready for action and sailed for France from Folkestone. He disembarked at Boulogne and marched to Base Depot at Camiers. On 15th October 1917 James was assigned to the 24th Machine Gun Company. He served with this unit in France for seven months, during which time it was re-designated as the 4th Machine Gun Battalion.

On 7th May 1918 James fell ill and was evacuated through lines of communication to hospital in Rouen. Shortly afterwards he was invalided back to the UK aboard the hospital ship Guildford Castle, suffering from pneumonia. It took James seven weeks to recover and he was treated firstly at the City of London Military Hospital in Clapton and then at the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. On 17th June James was discharged to No.3 Command Depot at Hurdcott and three months later he was transferred to Sutton Veny Camp on Salisbury Plain, where he spent the rest of his time in England.

A few days after the Armistice James went absent without leave for a week, perhaps to visit his family in Hurst, and incurred seven days Field Punishment No.2. The sentence is defined in the Punishment Manual as follows:

a. He may be kept in irons, i.e., in fetters or handcuffs, or both fetters and handcuffs; and may be secured so as to prevent his escape.
b. Straps or ropes may be used for the purpose of these rules in lieu of irons.
c. He may be subjected to the like labour, employment, and restraint, and dealt with in like manner as if he were under a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour.

James was also fined two weeks pay. In April 1919 he transferred to the Australian Army Medical Corps and was subsequently promoted to Corporal before returning to Australia in February 1920 aboard the Cap Verde. James was eventually discharged from the AIF on 7th May 1920. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his wartime service. James Goodchild died on 28th June 1943 aged 52.



They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon