Ray Goddard

Ray GoddardRay was born on March 16, 1924 at Raetihi, New Zealand.

When he was 18, Ray joined 8th Army Service Corp, New Zealand Army on June 25, 1942 with the service number 624854. He later enlisted in the navy on July 27, 1943 with the service number NZ7853. He was 5' 11.5" tall, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Ray served on HMS Saunders in Egypt, HMS Assegai at Durban, South Africa, HMS Lanka at Ceylon, and HMNZS Gambia (June 1944 - 10th Jan 1946). For his service, Ray was awarded the 1939-45 Star (Battle of Britain clasp), Burma Star (Pacific clasp), War Medal 1939-1945, New Zealand Operational Service Medal, New Zealand War Service Medal, Defence Medal, and the New Zealand Service Medal 1946-1949.

Ray's Father was a commerical beekeeper and after the war Ray joined the Agricultural Deptartment as an Apiarist Instructor. After 8 years, in 1954, he left to start a commericial apiary business. 1958 then he became a book seller/stationer, a career that lasted 30 yers.

Ray married a nurse, Pamela Kirkby, on April 8,1950. Twins, a boy and a girl, were born in 1952. Their son, John, qualified as a Lawyer, and Janet their daughter, a nurse.

Ray was a great success as a book seller and 23 years were spent as an executive on the N.Z. Booksellers Council - 3 of those as president. In 1984, Ray was awarded a certificate for outstanding service to the retail bookselling trade. Then, as a chairman of the Book Marketing Council (a joint publishing & Bookseller organisation), in 1985 he was elected to lifetime membership. The only bookseller ever to be given such an honour. Ray retired in Taupo in 1988.

Ken and Ray Goddard in 1945

Ken and Ray Goddard in 1945

B Turret Gun Crew

"B" Turret guns crew in 1945
Able Seaman Ray Goddard is back row, 2nd from left

Ray wrote about the last hours of WWII while he was on HMNZS Gambia for the Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph

On August 27th, 1945, we had last received orders to move into Japanese waters….It was a slow journey and an anxious few hours. We were all at action stations with guns loaded and ready to hit pre-selected targets. Apart from the concern of mine fields everyone thought a last ditch all out attach by suicide planes was a distinct possibility. Our aircraft carriers with their destroyer escorts stayed well out to sea but sent hundreds of planes to give us added protection. After so long at sea constantly on the alert, with the ship pitching and rolling in heavy seas the tranquility of being at anchor was intensely moving and enhanced by a glorious sunset against the backdrop of Mt Fujiyama. Then as the sun went down and sounds of the ships bugle echoed across the bay all sailors on deck stood to attention, faced aft and saluted as our flag was lowered for the day. Very very emotional! The war had really ended!

HMNZS Gambia's crew with a captured Japanese flag

HMNZS Gambia's crew with a captured Japanese flag

Ray Goddard is the man on the bottom left of this photo. Ray Goddard was part of "B" turret guns crew.

The writers and contributors of the RNZN Communicators Association have been a wonderful source of information. In November 2018, Shane Scott wrote that the crew member 4th from the right in the above photo looks like his granddad, Lindsy Cummings. Lindsy served on HMS Gambia from 1943 to 1946 as radar operator and pom-pom gunner. Lindsy passed away around 1994.

In 2017, Ray was interviewed for the NZ WWII Oral History Resource Centre and NGA-TOA Oral History Project. Ray reflected about what his time during WWII meant to him and how it affected his life. The video is comes from the NGA TOA / Our War Vimeo account.