Saddler used camera to record the war

Name: Danny Goodall
Date: 1915-1918
Unit: 8th Battery, 3rd Australian Field Artillery
Location: France, Belgium

Joe Goodall was a saddler by trade, an extremely useful skill during World War I. He helped make and repair the harnesses for the horses that pulled the big guns of the 8th Battery, 3rd Australian Field Artillery.

Joe, known to all as Danny, was from Kellerberrin in Western Australia where he had set up his own business before he volunteered for the War.

He was an independent lad who didn't get on well with his father. He took up boxing as a sport while learning his trade. He also dabbled in photography, another skill that would prove useful later on.

After attending training camp at Blackboy Hill east of Perth, he embarked for Egypt, travelling in the massive convoy consisting of 36 transports and six warships.

On the way through the Indian Ocean, the German cruiser Emden destroyed the signal station at Cocos Island but not before an SOS was sent out. HMAS Sydney was sent from its escort duties with the convoy to investigate and after a short battle defeated the German ship, forcing her to beach on the island to avoid sinking.

Back on the convoy, the troops had been carrying out drill and cheered lustily when the news came through of Sydney's victory.

On arrival in Egypt, Danny Goodall bought himself a battered camera before being sent to Gallipoli with the rest of the troops.

He was wounded on Gallipoli and taken to Devonport in England to recover. Whilst in hospital he received a letter from his brother Arthur who was fighting in France. He'd found out Danny had been wounded and wrote to commiserate.

"But it is a jolly sight better than over here as we are having a b----- rough time. I am safe at present but by God we have got to keep our heads down very often but I have got a hell of a lot of luck. I will write later on."

After his recovery Danny was sent to fight in France. There, he was badly gassed during the battle of the Somme in 1916.

It was during the fighting that he lost his precious camera but lady luck was shining on him for he found another one on the battlefield.

This camera was a German one and a note in his negative album suggested it wasn't as good as his old one.

"Out of a German camera...not too good...you will be able to see what they are."

He kept a meticulous record of his photographs, scratching details on the negatives with a pin.

Danny made himself a special camera bag out of leather and carried his negatives and prints in it as well. It proved to be a good way to protect them from the ravages of war.

On his return to Australia, Danny Goodall met and married Helena Forward, who was from Meckering. In 1928 they took up a soldier's settlement at Mount Madden, about 60 km north of Ravensthorpe where they farmed 2000 acres from virgin bush.

Helena was the first white woman to live in the district and produced three sons and a daughter.

With World War II under way and things very tough on the land, the family moved to Perth where Danny got a job looking after Italians who'd been locked up at Marinup POW camp.

After the war, they returned to the land and eventually retired in 1961. Danny died in 1976 and his wife died two years later.

Danny never spoke about the war to his family but he was very proud of his photographs, which were found in his leather bag after he died.

The material for this article was supplied by Bob Goodall of Western Australia


Last updated: 31 May 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Saddler used camera to record the war, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 25 September 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/stories-service/australians-war-stories/saddler-used-camera-record-war
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