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Raymond Spencer Goward (1891–1979)

by Melanie Oppenheimer

This article was published:

Raymond Spencer Goward (1891-1979), chartered accountant and Australian Comforts Fund commissioner, was born on 15 February 1891 at Ashfield, Sydney, youngest of three sons of George Goward, an English-born stationer, later a dispenser, and his Australian-born wife Mary, née Mason. By 1914 Raymond was chief clerk in the Sydney accounting firm Smith, Johnson & Co.

Claiming to have 'volunteered for active service' in World War I, instead Goward became in September 1915 an honorary commissioner with the War Chests Fund (Australian Comforts Fund), a national federated philanthropic organization that provided a range of comforts including refreshments, recreational equipment and budget accommodation for soldiers both in the front line and on leave in Egypt, London and later France. His youth and financial skills were both beneficial to the A.C.F. After working from October 1915 in London, in September 1916 he took charge in Egypt, including Gaza and Beersheba, with the honorary rank of major from July 1918. In hospital with malaria for two months from September that year, which effectively ended his war service, he returned to Sydney in March 1919. Next year he was appointed M.B.E. for his voluntary war work.

After the war he set up his own accountancy firm with fellow A.C.F. commissioner W. F. A. Larcombe, also a public accountant. Goward married Ruby Violette Connochie at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Phillip Street, on 26 April 1923. Their infant son died in 1926, and Ruby died in 1932. On 12 April 1935, at the new St Stephen's Church, Macquarie Street, Goward married Daisy Louise Scott, née Methven, a divorcee.

On the outbreak of World War II, in September 1939 Goward resigned from his directorships and volunteered once more to work in an unpaid capacity for the A.C.F. His experience and expertise in the previous war was invaluable. Appointed the first A.C.F. commissioner and promoted honorary lieutenant-colonel, he sailed with the Australian Imperial Force to the Middle East in January 1940. Following eighteen months co-ordinating the efforts of the organization, he came back to Australia in July 1941, when he retired briefly from the A.C.F. He was then co-opted onto the executive in an advisory capacity, working closely with (Sir) Roy McKerihan. Goward was appointed chief commissioner of the A.C.F. in Australia and the Pacific in March 1942, and spent the remainder of the war co-ordinating supplies and personnel in northern Australia, New Guinea and the south-west Pacific. Recommending him for an honour in 1942, General Sir Thomas Blamey described him as a person of 'unremitting energy, even temperament and cheerful disposition'. Goward was mentioned in dispatches in October 1942 and appointed C.B.E. on 7 June 1951. A rather quiet, unassuming man who did not enjoy public speaking, he was at home behind the scenes. His recreations were golf, bridge and fishing.

In April 1943 Goward had been appointed a director of Intercolonial Investment Land & Building Co. Ltd. Later he joined the board of Australian Metropolitan Life Assurance Co. Ltd. He lived at Double Bay. Goward died on 12 June 1979 in St Luke's Hospital, Darlinghurst, and was cremated. He was survived by his wife and by a stepson and stepdaughter.

Select Bibliography

  • S. H. Bowden, The History of the Australian Comforts Fund (Syd, 1922)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Jan 1918, p 4, 21 Dec 1939, p 8, 7 June 1951, p 1
  • M. Oppenheimer, Volunteers in Action: Voluntary Work in Australia, 1939-1945 (Ph.D. thesis, Macquarie University, 1997)
  • A663, item O150/3/10, A816/1, item 66/301/15, A2908, item H15 (National Archives of Australia).

Citation details

Melanie Oppenheimer, 'Goward, Raymond Spencer (1891–1979)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 25 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (Melbourne University Press), 2005

View the front pages for the Supplementary Volume

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


15 February, 1891
Ashfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


12 June, 1979 (aged 88)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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