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The Last Navigator

Paul Goodwin told his son Gordon, to survive you had to surrender all hope, which is an extraordinary statement to make, but this statement was one the men who flew many dangerous missions in Bomber Command over enemy territory during World War 2 adopted.

His incredible story unfolds in The Last Navigator, a story filled with courage, hope and underneath the well-deserved accolades and awards earned by Goodwin on his life journey, is hard work, commitment and dedication, by a man who seized an opportunity when it arose, which led on to a stellar career in the RAAF, seconded to RAF and then with Qantas World Airlines as Qantas Chief Navigator.

Goodwin’s expertise eventually lead to him working and developing the computerization of the art of navigation, which saw the end of a profession, and once the  Boeing 747’s were introduced, the end of a career doing something he loved with passion; navigating aircraft.

Growing up in what an authoritarian family ruled by his father, he was taken from school at the age of twelve to be the provider for the family table.  He was given a ‘trusty Winchester Model 60 rifle’, enough ammunition to last a month and sent out by his father to gather pigeon, rabbit and anything else he could. The family orchard was less than successful.

In 1939 the threat of war was looming and Gordon and his cousin joined the local part time militia at Bundaberg, discovering he really enjoyed the military lifestyle. Once war was declared in Britain, a scheme was launched to provide sufficient trained aircrew so the RAF could maintain their full strength in spite of their massive losses.  Flying schools were established in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and when the opportunity arose, Gordon made the decision to leave the Army and join the RAAF.

He only just made the intake and so began his remarkable journey from country boy to a successful career in the RAAF, followed by twenty six years with Qantas, and truly he was The Last Navigator.

Based on Gordon Goodwin’s memoirs, The Resume of the Life and Times of One R Gordon Goodwin and talks with his father over many years, Paul Goodwin has in turn crafted a wonderful tribute to his father, to the men who flew in Bomber Command, Pathfinder Squadron, and the many men and women Gordon worked with over his thirty years in aviation.

Based on fact, history experienced firsthand is bough vividly to life page, after page, as George candidly tells of his life through the years of war, falling in love, peacetime and the exciting new era of jet air travel.

George Goodwin retired in 1971 and passed away in 2012 aged 94.

Author Paul Goodwin with Gordon Goodwin
Publisher Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760877439
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released July 2020