1. Memorial:Miraumont Communal CemeteryA.7
2. Website:Comrades Lodge No. 2976.
3. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.123

Awards & Titles:


Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 1/Dorset Regiment 

1st Battalion August 1914 : in Belfast. Part of 15th Brigade in 5th Division. Landed at Le Havre 16 August 1914. 31 December 1915 : transferred to 95th Brigade in 32nd Division. 7 January 1916 : transferred to 14th Brigade in same Division.

Action : Actions in Spring 1916 

Actions in Spring 1916 covers a number of non specific actions on the Western Front in the period February to the end of June 1916. Much of this period concerned the build up to the Battle of the Somme, particularly the acclimatisation of the Service Battalions (Kitchener Volunteers) to trench routine. As the Battle of the Somme occupied the plans for 1916 no significant efforts were made in other sectors. Many of the casualties could be considered 'routine'. During the period December to June 1916 5845 British soldiers died in 'minor trench operations'.

Detail :

...registered as born in June 1873 he spent his early years in Clarence Road, Alverstoke, near Portsmouth Hampshire . He had 11 Brothers & Sisters (14 in the same household) recorded on the 1881 Census. He is registered as being married in Colchester on 20th April 1908 to Mabel Mary Pettitt, but he had been married previously, his first wife may have died in India. There are three children listed on his service records, Frank (1.11.05 by first wife), Hugh Pettitt (8.12.1899 by marraige) & William J. Francis (11.8.13). Sergeant Goodwillie is recorded as posted with 1st Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment. Prior to the war this unit was in India and must have staged back through Colchester. Along with his Battalion, Sergeant W. Goodwillie was stationed at Sobraon Barracks, in Colchester. This barracks no longer exists, as the area forms the car park for Colchester Football Club. From 1906 the Regiment was posted to Gosport 1909 to Farnborough, 1911 to Blackdown and then 1913 to Belfast. Goodwillie must have left the service for a time and became a Carpenter as a Short Service Attestation in his records show him rejoin the colours on 28 November 1914 and re? promoted to Sergeant a day later. He is said to have been extremely sickened by the loss of young life and as a vastly experienced and trained soldier believed that it was duty to fight. Goodwillie is number 131 in the Comrades Lodge No. 2976 Register of Members. He was initiated, aged 30, into Comrades Lodge on 19 Feb 1906, passed on 19 mar 1906 and raised 20 Apr 1906, all clearly recorded in the minute book of the period and on the summons held therein. There is no evidence to suggest William Goodwillie became an officer within the lodge. On Page 109, 20th December 1909, of the 1st Minutes book, a list of members shows Bro. W. Goodwillie recorded as a member. He was struck off on 29 of September 1914, his name is not listed on the 1933 Scroll in the Shrine at Freemasons Hall.

In 1916 his Regiment was part of 14th Brigade, 32nd Division in France and Flanders on the Western Front. No. 12562 Sergeant Goodwillie was killed in action on 17th May 1916 serving his King and his Country, on the Somme prior to the 1st phase of major action for which this area is most famous. His body is respectfully interred at Row A Grave 7, Miraumont Communal Cemetery; his grave is tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. His Great Grandson is still contactable and has passed on a story of bravery. Sergeant Goodwillie attempted to rescue two young soldiers, however, all three were captured by the enemy and shot. A sad entry is seen on Page 211 of the Minute Book for 16th October 1916 that ?? Mention was made of the case of Mrs Goodwillies[sic] by the Sec. who was directed to write her on the decision of the Lodge. This was that no action could be taken on her case?? One of the fathers of the young soldiers, Rev. Algoe felt a debt of honour and offered to put William Goodwillie's son, through his schooling. William J Francis Goodwillie, is now 93 and resides in Portsmouth. Memories run deep in the Goodwillie family and W.J.F. Goodwillie's wife recalls a resentment by her mother-in-law Mabel towards Freemasons after they had offered no support. William Goodwillie's name is commemorated on the wall of the Gosport Masonic Hall, and a plaque exists on the wall of St. Mary's Church as a testament to his heroism.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Comrades Lodge No. 2976 E.C.Essex

19th February 1906
19th March 1906
20th April 1906

Master Mason

Source :

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Last Updated: 2018-05-27 15:57:44