Arthur was born at Smeaton Hall , Great Smeaton, Northallerton, Yorkshire on the 9th September 1877. He was the son of Colonel A. F. Godman. He was educated at Rugby School and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Yorkshire Regiment in May 1898.
Whilst serving in India he wrote two articles for The Green Howrads Gazette. One was about ‘G’ Company’s donkey! Apparently awarded an Army Temperance Medal despite having a taste for alcohol!
Advancing to Lieutenant in November 1900 he saw service in Somaliland. Promoted Captain in January 1906 and, after a posting in South Africa, returned to the UK to serve as Adjutant for the University of London Officer Training Corps. He was appointed Staff Captain attached to the 21st Infantry Brigade in 1914. Severely wounded at Ypres on the 30th October 1914, on recovery he was posted to the General Staff in France.
Promoted Major in August 1915 he was attached to the 4th Brigade, Royal Flying Corps. He served as Brigade Major during the Battle of the Somme and advanced to Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Assistant Adjutant General, on the RFC staff from July 1917. By the end of the war he was a Brigadier-General and was confirmed as a Wing Commander in August 1919. The following month he was posted as Assistant Commander, RAF Cranwell.
He was posted to RAF HQ India at Simla being promoted to Group Captain in June 1923. Returning the following year to the UK he served consecutively as: Officer Commanding, School of Technical Training at Manston; Director of Manning for the Air Ministry; and as Officer Commanding Electrical and Wireless School. He retired as an Honorary Air Commodore in February 1931. He returned to Yorkshire and was appointed Secretary of the North Riding of Yorkshire Territorial Army and Auxiliary Air Force Assosiation.
During WWII he served as Air Commodore, Northern Area Command, based at Catterick, until his final retirement in June 1943. In later life he was appointed Vice-President of the Regimental Council, The Green Howards. He died in at Smeaton in July 1956 and is buried in the local church cemetery.
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Helen Bennett visited the museum to tell us about Gardner Kennedy. (William Robert) Gardner Kennedy was my paternal Irish Grandmother’s first cousin. He was the son of Mary and William Kennedy of Ardbana House Coleraine, Northern Ireland. His father had an engineering firm. He was my Irish Grandmother’s cousin. (Annie Morton McMillan of Turnagrove Co Antrim) There is a very strong familial likeness between Gardner Kennedy and his Turnagrove cousins, most of whom I knew. Gardner Kennedy died on the Swaben Redout on July 1st 1916 which is where his regiment the Royal Iniskilling Fusiliers fought Reg no:18637. Lance Corporal, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, and on the Coleraine War memorial, although on the latter his Christian name is incorrectly spelt. He enlisted on 5th October 1915. His brother, Lieutenant John Alexander Kennedy, survived the war. However further tragedy struck the family on 2nd March 1917 when the Kennedy family lost their only daughter, Mary Boddie, wife of Geoffrey W Boddie. Comment: About 1959 or 1960 I visited Edie Kennedy who (I presume) was Gardner Kennedy’s sister law at Ardbana House, a splendid detached house full of faded elegance. I met Jack, Edie’s son who was a wild child, liked building his own racing cars. Of Edie, I remember only a little old lady, shrunken but lively, sitting regally amongst the faded and cluttered Second Empire furniture in front of a huge fireplace with…
Arthur John Rispin was born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1888. His father, Thomas was a stoker on the railways and his mother called Mary Ann attended to domestic work. He married Mary Elizabeth in 1910 – unfortunately they lost a child in the first year of their marriage. Few records survive relating to his service during the First World War, apart from those relating to his death on 9th October 1918 aged 31. In his photograph he is wearing a badge on his collar signifying that he served with the 12th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment which was the Pioneer Battalion. However upon his death he is listed as serving with the 9th Battalion. His effects and a war gratuity of £21 were left to his widow, Mary. Arthur is commemorated on the Town Memorial in Stockton, and the Busigny Communal Cemetery near St. Quentin, France.
Major Harold Carey Matthews was born in 1879, son of F W W Matthews, he went on to join the 4th Battalion Green Howards where he acted as subaltern during the Second Boer War. After retiring from the military he worked for Barclays Bank at Leyburn, where his father also worked. When World War One broke out he re-enlisted with the Green Howards and was promoted to Major, on 29th August 1914. He was killed in action on the 25th April 1915 near Ypres and is buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Belgium.