David Ralph Goodwin (known as Ralph) was born on 14 November 1921 to Norman Leslie Goodwin and Gladys Miriam Goodwin. He enlisted with the Royal Australian Navy on 11 November 1938 - service number 22112 - and was subsequently sent to the HMAS Cerberus, a RAN training facility in Western Port Bay, before being transferred to the HMAS Vendetta. He subsequently served on the HMAS Penguin and Adelaide before being transferred to the HMAS Perth in May 1939.

When Australia entered World War II in September 1939 Goodwin was still serving aboard the HMAS Perth. Most of his wartime service on board the HMAS Perth involved escort duties; however, the Perth also took part in the evacuation of Greece and the Battle of Crete (both incidents are recorded in his photograph album). In August 1941 Goodwin transferred to the HMAS Hobart. (HMAS Perth was sunk on 1 March 1942, resulting in terrible loss of life.)

The HMAS Hobart was also mainly involved in escort duties. However, the Hobart was part of US Task Force 44 and was also present at the Battle of Coral Sea. In February 1941 the Hobart, along with the HMS Tenedos, rescued 70 survivors from the SS Nora Mulla (or Nora Moller) an ocean liner that have been attacked by Japanese bombers. Goodwin documented his experiences with photographs - preserved in album ST 039706. Several of the Goodwin's photographs focus on this event.

In September 1942 Goodwin was transferred to the HMAS Cerberus where he remained until July 1943 when he was discharged due to anxiety neuroses. He later formed the ex-Perth Association in 1966 (the HMAS Perth having sunk in March 1942).

The last census record on Ancestry.com is from the year 1980 and lists Goodwin's occupation as a postal employee. There is also some evidence to suggest that he married Mary Mollison, a woman he appears to have been courting during the war, sometime between 1945 and 1949.

According to the HMAS Perth National Association Inc. webpage,

David Ralph Goodwin donated 304 photos and several objects to Museum Victoria. Although he does not appear in any of the images within the album ST 039706, he is shown in three other photographs within the Museum's collection (MM 114632, MM 114637 and MM 118753).

Australia's War 1939-1945
HMAS Perth National Association Inc.
The National Archives of Australia

More Information