by Richard Harris & Barrie Williams
A biography of Rear Admiral Nicholas Goodhart
, CB, Legion of Merit, FRAeS, RN (1919–2011)
Nicholas Goodhart was indeed an exceptional man and in this enjoyable biography Barrie Williams and Richard Harris record his many achievements as a sailor, aviator, inventor and record-breaker.
Nicholas had an illustrious career in the Royal Navy, joining in 1933 as a trainee cadet at the age of 13 and retiring 40 years later as a Rear Admiral. In the intervening years, after undergoing pilot training during World War 2, he proved himself to be a first-class aviator who, as a test pilot, flew a wide variety of postwar aircraft types to assess their suitability for the Navy. He also invented the mirror-deck landing system for aircraft carriers, which was adopted by navies worldwide and saved the lives of many naval pilots by enabling safer landings at sea.
Nicholas also became a world-class glider pilot, taking part in and winning international competitions and setting records, one of which – the height record for a British pilot of 37,050 feet, which he set in 1955 – remained unbroken for 40 years.
In retirement he continued his inventing, turning his attention to man-powered flight and much else. He was appointed Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, was an influential Lloyds ‘name’ and contributed to the development of the Lindridge Estate, where he and his devoted wife Molly shared their last home together.
All this and more is described in detail in this commendable account of a truly remarkable life.