The First World War Memoirs of Sampson J. Goodfellow, Part 15: Trouble in Bath

I’m posting the First World War memoirs of my grandfather-in-law, Sampson J. Goodfellow, a few pages at a time…

(Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13. Part 14.)

While at Bath, I got into trouble through no fault of my own.

We had to line up at a large Pavilion for dinner at 7:30 p.m. We lined up as on parade and marched into the dining room.

A one-legged Pilot was Officer of the Day. He was standing at the front. A few Cadets behind me were talking and he pointed at me and told me to stop talking.

I said, “Sir, I am not talking.”

He told the Cadet Corporal to take my name. I was to appear at my Flight Orderly Room for talking on parade.

The Corporal didn’t report me. He came up to me a few days later and told me the Pilot Officer wanted me punished.

I said, “O.K., report me,” which he did, and next day I was brought up at 10:00 a.m. in front of my Flight Officer, Captain Montmorency, a South African Infantry Officer.

He read the charge and right away he said, “Two days, C.B.”

I said, “Sir, I am not guilty; I didn’t do anything.”

Immediately he said, “Appear at Squadron Orderly Room at 11:00 p.m.”

They put guards over me, and marched me to Colonel Rooke’s Orderly Room, where I was put on trial for disobedience.

The Orderly Officer read the charge and Colonel Rooke called me a “Damn Canadian Bastard” and a “Foreign Son of A Bitch,” and every filthy name in his vocabulary.

I could stand no more and I started to call him the same names. He told one of his Sergeants to grab me but he could not handle me.

He had four of his N.C.O.s grab me, one on each leg and one on each arm, and threw me to the ground. He then pronounced the sentence–21 days confined to Barracks, put in jail and drilled at the double, and returned to the Canadians after I had done my sentence, as I was not fit to be an Officer in the Royal Air Force.

I got up off the floor and he shook his fist at me and called me names, and they handed me over to my Flight Sergeant-Major.

We left the Orderly room under guarded escort. When we got outside the Sergeant-Major said, “Why did you get into this trouble?”

I said, “I didn’t do anything, but the Cadets who were carrying on were not men enough to take the blame and I don’t take punishment for anything I have not done.”

The guards called the Colonel, “An Old Devil.”

When we got down to our quarters the Sergeant-Major said, “I have no jail to put you in. I know what I will do with you, I have an empty attic in one of the houses.”

We went there and he said, “I will lock you in here.”

I said, “If you do, I will meet you on the steps downstairs.”

The guards laughed and the Sergeant-Major asked me to repeat what I had said.

I took him to the window. “See that rain pipe? I will climb down.”

He said, “You little devil, I believe you would! What am I going to do with you?”

I said, “I will give you my word of honour, I will stay here if you do not lock the door.”

“Very well,” he said, “I will trust you.”

He and the guards left.

I sat on the floor feeling sorry for myself and after a lapse of time, the Sergeant-Major came back and said, “You are to stay in your own quarters and attend classes.”

We went down and I returned to my quarters.

I got fed up and wrote a letter asking to be returned to France to my unit, the 3rd. I gave it to Captain Montmorency. He took it to Colonel Rooke; and they decided to give me back my letter and that I had to do my sentence.

After classes, I would report at the Bath Cricket Grounds and five Officers would take turns at drilling me at the double. They would wear themselves out and another would take over. They would shout at me, “We will take that sneer off your face!”

I would say to myself, “like the devil you will.”

They would put Cadets behind me who had misbehaved and got two days or more C.B. (Confined to Barracks). After a few minutes, they would faint and fall to the ground, but they would keep me going, hoping I would fall. I was in wonderful shape.

After I had done my 21 days, they paraded me to the Flight Orderly Room and Captain Montmorency asked me for my letter to return to my unit. I told him I had torn it up, he told me to write it out, and I said I would not because the Canadian Ten prevailed on me to stay.

Captain Montmorency said, “We will send you back. Colonel Rooke does not want you here and you know what happened to you.”

“Yes, but I was innocent.”

Colonel Rooke went to the Captain who was the Chief Technical Instructor from London and wanted a bad report on my knowledge.

The Captain asked him to repeat the name (Goodfellow). The Captain said that Headquarters in London would think he was crazy, as I was the only Cadet who had a mark of 100.

I got this information from the girls in the Office (WRAF).

The old devil tried his best to remove me from the R.A.F. but failed.

There was a draft going to Reading and I was put on the draft, not as a Cadet Officer but as a Cadet Sergeant along with another Cadet named Clayton–a boy from a prominent English Family and from one of the Universities.

The other Cadets would not talk to us as we were to be non-commissioned.

I gave them the devil and told them what I thought of the English.

We arrived at Reading, marched in, and names were checked.

The Sergeant-Major called off the Officer Cadets and then called off Clayton’s name and my name.

He said, “Cadet for Sergeant two steps in the rear,” and then dismissed us.

Cadet Clayton started to cry. I told him to stop it, and come with me.

I went up to the Regimental Sergeant-Major and told him the story that happened at Bath. I gave him Colonel Rooke’s name.

“That old devil, I was in his regiment the Middlesex, and I have it in for him,” he said.

He took out his pen and scratched out our names at the bottom of his list of Cadets: and inserted them in the correct place with the Officer Cadets.

He then shouted for the Cadets to fall in, which they did. He read off the names and of course, they all shouted present. Clayton and I shouted present in loud voices.

The Sergeant-Major dismissed the Cadet Flight.

I said to Clayton, “Do you want a holiday to go and tell your people?”

He said, “Yes. Will you come with me?”

I went up to the R.S.M. and said, “Sir, could Clayton and I have a few days holiday?”

He looked at his list, checked our marks and said, “You damn Canadians don’t know when you are well off. Come with me.”

He went to the orderly room to talk to the O.C. and came out with two Railway Warrants.

He said, “Do you have any money?”

We said, “Yes.”

“Then you don’t want to see the pay-master.”

We said, “No.”

It was Friday at noon.

He said, “If you two little devils are not back by 12 o’clock midnight Sunday, I will skin you both alive. Now, beat it, and good luck boys.”

He was the finest N.C.O. that I met all the time I was in the force.

We were back on time.

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