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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [Hubert Goodman 103 Sqn]

W/C Hubert R Goodman Royal Hellenic Air Force Cross RAF and crew - 103 Squadron - RAF Elsham Wolds - 1944

Failed to Return - 11/12th May 1944 - Avro Lancaster III - ND700 - Op Hasselt.

103 Squadron - Goodman

Born in Maseru, Basutoland, South Africa in 1915 Hubert Reginald Goodman. He attended Hilton College, Natal and was a keen student and likeable personality excelling in all sports, particularily gymastics. He left school in 1933 and went to England to join the Royal Air Force in 1934. Hubert entered the RAF College at Cranwell as a cadet where he represented the college at both Cricket and Rugby Union and in 1936  successfully completed his course and was commissioned in the RAF as a Pilot Officer.

Volunteering for foreign service he went to India in 1937 and he served in the North West Provinces for 2 years gaining much valuable flying experience over the wild and mountainous terrain. He was one of the pilots from his Squadron who flew to Singapore to take part in the opening ceremony when Singapore was established as the British naval fortress in the Far East. Subsequently he served in Iraq and Egypt where he was stationed at the outbreak of the war.

Several months later Hubert returned to England but, early in 1940, was posted back to Egypt where he was actively engaged in air operations during the North African campaign until 1942. At this time the RAF were facing almost impossible odds flying obsolescent aircraft in the skies over the Western Desert. He was mentioned in despatches and was promoted to Wing Commander in 1942. He later commanded the RAF station at Gaza in Palestine and was awarded the Royal Hellenic Air Force Cross by the King of Greece. This was a particularily deserved award and a very rare decoration for a member of the RAF.

He returned home to South Africa with his wife in late 1942  for a short leave and, early in 1943, flew back to England where he served in various senior appointments. After undertaking an official trip to Canada he was chosen to command 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds in place of Wing Commander Nelson who had been promoted to a staff appointment.

Hubert took command of the Squadron on the 6th May 1944 and immediately impressed all with his enthusiasm.

Unfortunately his  period in charge of 103 was to be short-lived. On the night of the 11/12th May 1944 he captained  Lancaster ND700 flying with the experienced crew of Squadron Leader Van Rolleghem who was in hospital with an ulcer at the time.

The crew consisted of :-

W/C H R Goodman Royal Hellenic Air Force Cross RAF - ( pictured above )

103 Squadron Vickers

P/O P D Vickers RAFVR

103 Squadron Agar


103 Squadron White


103 Squadron Vander Dasson

P/O W L Vander-Dasson DFM RCAF

103 Squadron Finighan

Sgt C L Finighan RAFVR

103 Squadron MacLeod

103 Squadron McLeod Goodman


 The raid in which they took part was on the railway yards at Hassalt in Belgium and during this raid ND700 was probably lost due to a night fighter. ND700 broke up in mid air. The wreckage fell over a wide area NE of Antwerp in Belgium

It was always thought that ND700 was a night fighter victim. However in recent times information has come to light which suggests that this aircraft may have been involved in a collision with a 101 Squadron Lancaster from Ludford Magna. The aircraft was badly damaged and fell away in a terminal dive to crash into the ground. The 101 Squadron crew survived and pressed on to the target in their damaged aircraft. On return they crash landed with a damaged undercarriage and their aircraft was written off.

Having said that John Jones informs me that Theo Boiten has logged a claim by Lt Hans Schmitz 4/NJG1 - WSW of Rotterdam: 2,500m at 00:15. Also claimed by Flak of 4/gem Flak Abt 295 (unknown type of aircraft Oostmalle 00:10) Victory for Lt Schmitz confirmed on 6 September 1944.(Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 2 - Theo Boiten)The aircraft exploded and wreckage was spread over a wide area near Hallaar (Antwerpen), 12 km ESE of Lier.

When it crashed, Lancaster ND700 created a huge crater, which quickly filled up with ground water; and parts of the plane were scattered over a wide area. The Germans were only able to recover one airman, Flight Sergeant White; they laid him to rest in the closed cemetery of Fort 3. Reinterred 21 December 1945. Then in 1947, after the war, the RAF's Missing Research and Enquiry Service recovered the rest of the crew from the 1944 crash site; the remains of the six airmen, as well as the recovered remains of Flight Sergeant White, were laid to rest with full military honours in the Schoonselhof Cemetery in Antwerp, Belgium.

Wing Commander Goodman and his crew now rest in the Schoonselhof War Cemetery.

W/C Hubert Reginald Goodman Royal Hellenic Air Force Cross RAF – Pilot - 29 – 103 Sqn - Son of Reginald Ernest and Doris I. Goodman, of Fish Hoek, Cape Province, South Africa; husband of Margaret Joyce Goodman – Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium

P/O Philip Denis Vickers RAFVR – Flight Engineer – 103 Sqn - Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.

F/O William Lorne Vanderdasson DFM RCAF – Air Bomber – 103 Sqn - Son of George and Hilda Vanderdasson, of Scudder, Ontario, Canada - Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium

F/S Gilbert Harry Agar DFM RAFVR – Navigator – 22 – 103 Sqn - Son of Hubert and Amelia Agar, of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester - Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt Clifford Leslie Finighan RAFVR – Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Leslie Richard Finighan, and of Evelyn Amy Finighan, of Fishponds, Gloucestershire - Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.

F/S Richard White RAFVR – Air Gunner – 103 Sqn - Son of William John and Lucy White, of Tottenham, Middlesex - Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.

F/O Roy McLeod RCAF – Air Gunner – 103 Sqn - Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.


W/C Goodman awarded MiD. Gazetted 24 September 1941.

Awarded Hellenic Air Force Cross. Gazetted 29 December 1942.

F/S Agar awarded DFM whilst with 103 Squadron. Gazetted 19 October 1943.

F/O Vander Dasson awarded DFM whilst with 619 Squadron. Gazetted 10 September 1943.


11-May-44 – Hasselt

103 Squadron detailed 10 aircraft for this attack on the marshalling yards at Hasselt in north eastern Belgium. The weather for take off was good but the target was obscured by thick haze. As the crews approached the target area the Master Bomber over the radio informed the crews to return to base with their bombs as the target could not be identified. F/O Broadbent and P/O Gibbons heard the Master Bomber from another target say “Bomb Red TIs” and then heard group broadcast to return with bombs. Deciding it was an enemy trick they bombed No 5 Group target. F/O Way and crew returned early with direct reading compass failure. W/C Goodman and P/O Whitley are missing from this operation. All other aircraft returned to base.

For this attack on the marshalling yards at Hasselt in north eastern Belgium Bomber Command detailed a total of 126 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups The target was marked and 39 aircraft bombed, but all missed the railway yards because of thick haze and the Master Bomber ordered the bombing to stop. 5 Lancasters lost.


Lancaster - ND700

This machine was lost on its 7th operation. See below

26-Mar-44 – Essen – Lancaster – ND700 – F/O WH Way RCAF

30-Mar-44 – Nuremberg – Lancaster – ND700 – F/O JW Birchall - Combat with night fighter. Evaded

10-Apr-44 – Aulnoye – Lancaster – ND700 – S/L FVP Van Rolleghem

11-Apr-44 – Aachen – Lancaster – ND700 – S/L FVP Van Rolleghem

24-Apr-44 – Karlsruhe – Lancaster – ND700 – P/O MJ MacDonald RCAF

09-May-44 – Mardyck – Lancaster – ND700 – S/L L Ollier

11-May-44 – Hasselt – Lancaster – ND700 – W/C HR Goodman – FTR - Night fighter victim. Exploded in mid air and fell near Oostmalle, Belgium.

Compiled by David Fell

Many thanks to the Goodman, Agar and Carlin families for providing much of the information and photographs and also Chris Ward Wim Govaert and Luc Cox in Belgium for additional background information. Also the Canadian Virtual War Memorial for the second McLeod photo. In addition thanks to John Jones for his valuable input


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