Charles Henry Goodsell – known as Harry – was born on 15th February 1897, the oldest of six children. His parents were Henry and Fanny Goodsell, who had been born in Sussex, but had moved to London in the late 1890s, presumably for work.
Henry was a compositor, setting type for printers, but his son’s first job after leaving school was as a van guard for the local Co-op. By the outbreak of the war, he had begun working in the store himself, but the hostilities soon put a stop to that.
In 1916, the call came, and, on 6th March, Harry joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman. He was initially sent to HMS Pembroke – the Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – where he completed his initial training. By May 1916, however, he was given his first posting, on board the battleship HMS Swiftsure, protecting the Atlantic convoys.
After nearly a year at sea, Ordinary Seaman Goodsell found himself back at HMS Pembroke. The Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Harry was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.
On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Ordinary Seaman Goodsell was among those killed instantly. He was just 20 years old.
Charles Henry “Harry” Goodsell was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.