PRIVATE JOHN WILLIAM GOODALL
SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT
20TH JULY 1918 AGE 21
BURIED: ST HILAIRE CEMETERY EXTENSION, FREVENT, FRANCE
Just a few graves along from John Goodall's, Private Wakeling's inscription reads:
He died a hero
Facing the foe
Defending his country
From terror and woe
And a few graves along in the other direction, Private Smith's says:
One of the unreturned heroes
One of the noble dead
This is not how Private Goodall's parents viewed their son's death, in fact they saw no glory in any of the country's deaths, for them the general sorrow outweighed everything. But then Goodall's father was a carpenter at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital in Cannock Chase and he would have been only too familiar with the broken men who were still being treated there until the hospital closed in 1924.
John William Goodall was the only son of William FitzHerbert and Mary Ann Goodall of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. In 1911, aged 13, John was an assistant to a sanitary worker, which might mean that he assisted in the making of pottery sanitary ware ... and it might not.
Goodall was a volunteer, serving first with the 9th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, which joined the BEF in France on 28 July 1915, and then with the 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. In July 1918 the battalion were in the trenches at Ayette when the war diary reported that on the 18th and 19th July the trenches were heavily shelled with gas causing two officer and eleven other rank casualties. It later commented that four of the casualties later died. It would appear that Goodall was one of these casualties.