This is but several extracts from the following
site, reproduced with permission of Peter Goodeve
The Hedgehog Defeating the U-Boat
HMS Vernon World War 2
Winston Churchill Prime Minister
CHARLES FREDERICK GOODEVE was born on 21 February 1904 in the small town of Neepawa, Canada. This stood on the eastern edge of the prairies one hundred miles west of Winnipeg. His great-grandfather, William Daniel Goodeve, had been the brewer in Wimborne, Dorset, before he emigrated. William Daniel appears to have been the only technologist among Charles's forbears.
In the autumn of 1927 Charles arrived in London with his 1851 Scholarship at University College London. He followed the advice of Donnan, his head, and started to work on new topics which were then full of promise, notably unstable molecules and absorption spectra. This led him into photochemistry and the associated reaction kinetics and ultimately into his work on the physical chemistry of vision. In1928 Charles became an assistant lecturer, having proved himself by successfully giving C. W. Bonnicksen's physical chemistry lectures at less than a day's notice when Bonnicksen was unexpectedly called away. Charles was appointed Lecturer in Physical Chemistry in 1930 and Reader in 1937. During his time at University College Charles became a keen member of the Faraday Society and many of his papers were published in its journal. He became a member of its Council in 1935, and after the War was President from 1950 to 1952. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1940. Charles kept up his naval interests through the R.N.V.R. He went to sea in submarines and minesweepers, and served in four battleships and three destroyers. He qualified as a torpedo specialist at Devonport and then specialized on the electrical side. In 1936 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and began to direct some of his researches towards naval problems. For these he obtained Admiralty finance and as a result became acquainted with Admiralty departments and procedures. He did attachments in H.M.S. Vernon, the mining establishment in Portsmouth, and these led to his being appointed there when war broke out in 1939. As a result of his naval experience in Winnipeg RCNVR, Charles saw great value in scientific and engineering skills being coupled with experience at sea. It was like the old argument of a chemical engineer's achieving more than a chemist working with an engineer. So he tried hard in 1938 and 1939 to get scientists and engineers specially enlisted into the RNVR. But he had no success. The Admiralty took the view that scientists and engineers were civilians who should work ashore: they did not need experience of problems at sea, for they could get all the advice they needed from regular officers. How wrong they were and how soon Charles proved it were shown by those wartime successes which are described in a later section.
Much of Charles's naval work was vividly and accurately described by Gerald Pawle in his book The secret war (G. G. Harrap and Co. Ltd, London, 1956). Excerpts from this book have therefore been quoted, with kind permission of both author and publisher, in the sections below dealing with Charles's naval exploits.
Towards the end of his time in Vernon, Charles had heard of attempts being made at H.M.S. Osprey to develop a weapon to throw antisubmarine charges ahead of a destroyer or corvette. Such an ahead thrown weapon could in principle be far deadlier than existing depth charges, which were dropped astern and gave a submarine too much time to take avoiding action during an attack. After D.M.W.D. had been formed with its wider terms of reference, Charles returned to this problem which had assumed much greater importance because of the enormous success of the German Atlantic submarine offensive. In November 1940 1 was investigating the possibility to using a type of spigot mortar developed for the army by Major Mills Jefferis of M.D.I. at Whitchurch, Bucks., for the purpose of propelling wire devices against aircraft attacking ships. I suggested to Charles that he should consider this mortar for his anti-submarine projectiles. He was quick to take up the idea and soon envisaged a weapon firing a pattern of relatively small contact changes from an array of spigots mounted in the forecastle of an escort. In the final design there were 24 projectiles in the pattern, each with a charge of 31 lb of explosive: they landed in a 130 ft diameter circle 215 yards ahead of the firing vessel. The weapon is illustrated in figure 3.
The most attractive features of the proposal were lightness of the mounting, the sea worthiness of the loaded round and the possibility of firing the pattern of projectiles in a ripple, so that no strengthening of the forecastle would be required. The preliminary design of the mounting was drawn up by Major Jefferis, whereas the design of the, projectile and the study of its underwater trajectory were undertaken by a group in D.M.W.D. led personally by Charles. Two designs for the fuse, which became armed as the projectile passed through the water and fired on contact, were developed simultaneously. The successful one was mainly the work of Lieutenant Commander H. D. Lucas on the staff of the Chief Superintendent of Armament Design, assisted by D.M.W.D. From here the story is told by Gerald Pawle:
By May 1941 the Hedgehog mounted in the destroyer HMS Westcott was ready for sea trials against a submerged wreck in Liverpool Bay. The weapon functioned perfectly. The Admiralty went all out for the Hedgehog and before the end of 1941 it was being fitted into our escorts. Later American escorts were similarly armed and by the end of the war the weapon had accounted for some fifty enemy submarines.
Following his outstanding successes in weapon development, Charles was awarded an O.B.E. Then in October 1942 the Third Sea Lord (the Controller) Vice-Admiral Wake-Walker, (Later Admiral Sir William Wake-Walker) had him appointed Assistant (later Deputy) Controller Research and Development. This was a new civilian appointment in which Charles wielded the powers of the Controller in relation to Research and Development.
Footnote: On Oct 30th 2010, I was working at Ashorne Hall, near Warwick and got into conversation with a sprightly 86 year old gent who remembered staying at Ashorne in the early 50s. He mentioned Sir Charles Goodeve and asked if I had heard of him. Yes I replied and pointed him to this very page. He was astonished that I should know of this gent. He knew Sir Charles very well. He told me that Sir Charles had some initial difficulty getting some very short sighted officers to release a ship to him for trials. The rest as they say, is history.
Hedgehog - Liverpool Maritime Museum - February 2008
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