Roy Everton Goodfellow

Though Goodfellow was Presbyterian, he joined the Catholic service because it was at 9 am — two hours earlier than the Presbyterian service.

While we often hear about soldiers leaving the war with emotional and physical wounds, we less often hear about soldiers leaving with life-long friendships, such as the bond forged between Roy Everton Goodfellow and his pal Ed Kenney.

Goodfellow was able to join the RFC because he received a letter of recommendation from Major Herbert Molson while serving as a sergeant in the Black Watch. In his letter, Molson recognized Goodfellow’s strong “determination and pluck” despite his “small physique” at a height of five feet and six inches. “Sergeant Goodfellow was particularly noted in my company for his never failing willingness and good spirits under the most trying circumstances,” Molson wrote. Goodfellow served in the RFC until 1919.

Black Watch Major Herbert Molson would joke about Goodfellow’s “small physique.” In one instance, Molson, on horseback, approached Goodfellow, who was marching with a heavy, packed kit. Molson leaned over and barked, “‘Soldier, would you like my horse?’ My dad had a great sense of humor. He looked up and he said, ‘Jesus Christ sir, don’t you think I have enough to carry now?’” recalls Goodfellow’s daughter, Audrey McDowall

The Roy and Ed met while serving as pilots for the Royal Flying Corps, which became the Royal Air Force in 1918.

“Ed used to say my dad was a terrible flyer and my dad used to say Ed was a terrible flyer. My dad was not a very good car driver so I can’t imagine him flying an airplane,” laughed Goodfellow’s daughter, Audrey McDowall.

The two men flew Sopwith Camels in France — single-seat biplane fighters. Goodfellow served two years with the Royal Flying Corps, until 1919, during which time he and Kenney became very close.“People took the two of them as brothers but they certainly weren’t.”

While overseas, the soldiers were required to attend a church service of their choice. Though Goodfellow was Presbyterian, he joined Kenney at the Catholic service because it was at nine in the morning — two hours earlier than the Presbyterian service. “They would do the Catholic service because they’d get the rest of the Sunday off,” said McDowall.

Kenney moved to Orillia, a city Simcoe County in Southern Ontario, and Goodfellow settled in Toronto after the war. Goodfellow died in 1965 from a heart attack at age sixty-nine and Kenney died a few years later.

Do you have an ancestor who served in the Great War? Submit their story and it could be included on this Great War Album website.