Private Andrew Goodwin – A short Biography

Andrew Goodwin was a stretcher-bearer in the 9th Battalion of the Liverpool King’s Regiment and was admitted to Moss Side Military Hospital in January 1918 following a shrapnel wound to his head. Andrew was born on 5 November 1890 in Liverpool, to John and Martha Goodwin (nee Sarratt). His occupation on enlisting in December 1916 is listed as French Polisher and he was living at Hill Street in Liverpool. He was stationed at home for a year and served in France and Belgium for nearly a year.

I was able to find out lot of information from the case notes that were kept about him at the hospital. He is described as being 5’11” and had grey eyes and black hair. It was noted from remarks about him from his time at the Front that he was a “well behaved and willing worker.” His injury was caused by shrapnel to the head and caused a depressed fracture which was treated by the insertion of a surgical plate to the wound.

It is clear that as well as the obvious physical injury, his experiences at the front (he was injured at Passchendaele, a name that became synonymous with the horror of the Great War due to the large scale loss of life and injuries) also caused severe mental trauma. His duties as a stretcher bearer must have subjected him to horrific situations and experiences that could surely have affected him mentally. His son, Ken, was interviewed about his father’s experiences at Maghull for The Psychological Impact of War by Wendy Holden. Ken gives an insight into the terrible consequences for his father following his experiences at the Front; he certainly thought that the many times his father had to go out into No Man’s Land to collect the dead, dying and severely injured must have affected him deeply. Private Goodwin was so traumatised that he said he would never go back and would rather be shot than have to face the horrors again. Understandably perhaps, he also had problems adapting to his time at Moss Side – he apparently said “If you had all your marbles when you went in, you wouldn’t when you came out”.

Private Goodwin was never to return to the Front. He was discharged from the army as medically unfit for war duty and received the Silver War Badge in July 1918 – awarded to those who had been injured in the service of their country and to show that he had indeed “done his duty” and was not a “skrimshanker and malingerer”. He also received a gold stripe that could be sown onto his jacket, which confirmed that he had been listed as wounded, together with a blue chevron, that demonstrated more than 2 years’ service in which he showed good conduct and had no disciplinary actions against him.

After the war Private Goodwin married Marjorie Moon in 1922.  He continued in his pre-War trade as a French Polisher, as seen by his entry with Marjorie on the 1939 Register established on the declaration of the 2nd World War. He continued to live in Liverpool until his death in 1976, 5 years before the death of his wife.

I was very glad to find that Andrew Goodwin was able to continue his profession, marry and have a family after the War. Sadly, his son says that he spent the rest of his life struggling to come to terms with his experience. I hope though that he did find some peace after the terrible cost to his physical and mental health caused by the War and perhaps ultimately helped by his experiences at Moss Side.


Written by Debbie Cameron

Edited by Amy Walling, Manchester Metropolitan University

Posted on 19 October 2018 under Moss Side Military Hospital

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