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Sidney James Goodyear

Portrait of Sidney James Goodyear. Ohura Legion of Frontiersmen. c1912-1914. Handwritten in ballpoint pen on verso "Sidney James Goodyear/ Front row, first left. Ohura Legion of Frontiersmen?/ 1912-1914?".

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. PH-2007-4-2 Detail.

Sidney James Goodyear served in the New Zealand Field Artillery from 1914 to 1918. He was part of the 4th Howitzer Battery, which was the first battery to land at Gallipoli. He went on to fight in France and at the Battle of Passchendaele, in Belgium, where he was wounded.

After the war Goodyear was assigned a soldier settlement block of land at Rotoma, which he developed and farmed. The family later shifted to Athenree in 1940. He died in 1971, aged 82 years.

Sidney was the fourth of nine children and sent many letters to his seven sisters during the war. This correspondence was not only written on normal note paper and postcards but on some more unlikely materials including Howitzer cartridge caps and on the back of cigarette packets. Two of these Howitzer card letters are transcribed below.

Dear Annie,

I am getting on alright and am doing well we get well fed and enough sleep and have plenty of fun to keep laughing over it is rather exhausting being at war sometimes we are getting the Turks a few shells to keep them quiet just now.

Love to all From Sid

Letter on Howitzer cartridge cap from 2/1002 Sidney James Goodyear, New Zealand Field Artillery, to his sister Alice, post-marked 9 July 1915:

“Dear Alice

Just received yours of 16th May. I only get one weekly from you so far others must have gone astray. Glad to hear all well at home. I am alright so far had a few narrow escapes so far but nothing to skite about. I have met a good many Tga [Tauranga] boys here.

Love to all From Sid Goodyear

— Letter on Howitzer cartridge cap from 2/1002 Sidney James Goodyear, New Zealand Field Artillery, to his sister Alice, post-marked 16 June 1915.

Letter to Miss A Goodyear from Sidney James Goodyear June 16 1915. Written on 13.5 cm cardboard disks (howitzer cartridge packing).

Goodyear, Sidney James. War letters and papers, 1914 - 2006. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. MS 2007/25-25_Verso.

Goodyear was part of the Howitzer Battery which his son Alan suggests as being part of the reason why he survived Gallipoli. This unit was in a more protected position out of range of normal fire.

Alan goes on to state that "[Sidney] never told his family much about Gallipoli but one story that we heard was that the reason that he did not fall sick was that he had acquired a tin of curry and used some with every meal of bully beef.

Auckland War Memorial Museum holds the Sidney: Goodyear, Sidney James. War letters and papers, 1914 - 2006. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-2007-25 which includes 100 letters sent to his mother and seven sisters during the war.

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