Goodwin Harry James
Flight Lieutenant DFC
crew M.J. Dugas
06-12-1942 to 23-05-1943 (26 trips)
18-03 to 09-08-1944 (13 sorties)
9-15 Sept 1944 (6 sorties)
Rhodesian Airman’s Escape
F LT. H. GOODWIN, D.F.C., D.F.M., BACK IN LONDON
LONDON, Saturday: The daring escapades of three Air Force officers — two South Africans and one Rhodesian — in captivity in Germany was told to me recently when I met Lieutenant Southwood, S.A.A.F., of Zeecrust and Flight Lieutenant Harry Goodwin, D.F.C., D.F.M., of Bulawayo in London.
The third man, Lieutenant De Bruyn, S.A.A.F., is also from the Transvaal.
Goodwin was shot down over the Ruhr early in November, 1944, bailed out and was taken to Stalag Luft III where he joined the two South Africans. Southwood said : « We made a secret radio set from tins and all kind of oddments out of Red Cross parcels and the valves were bought with cigarettes from our German guards. »
A Deft Escape
They were on a sick « train » while being moved to West Germany and made their escape from it. Goodwin who had either fractured or sprained his ankle when landing by parachute said. « The Germans had promised we would be well care for on the train but instead we were all put into cattle trucks, about forty in each without medical attention, some seriously ill and others suffering such injuries as dislocated shoulders. We were then left to our own resources for nearly five days with no German rations.
I shall never know whether my ankle was broken or only badly sprained. It eventually got better but was never treated. »
A Tense Period
After about six weeks in Nuremburg camp the Germans again moved the men on and the three escaped at a siding by hiding for twelve hours standing upright in a wardrobe in the guard’s van of a nearby stationary train. With the guards only five yards away they could speak only in whispers and their hearts missed a beat when other prisoners seeking wood to cook their meal came near to looking in their cupboard and there was deathly silence after one of the three knocked a bottle off a shelf and it fell with a loud clatter. When darkness fell, with a hidden map, a compass and 1 pound worth of German marks, they eventually reached the American lines.