The Paranormal and Out of This World Experiences of RAF Commander Victor Goddard

Photo Credit: 1. Thomas Cantrell Dugdale / Imperial War Museum / Wikimedia Common / Public Domain 2. Canva
Photo Credit: 1. Thomas Cantrell Dugdale / Imperial War Museum / Wikimedia Common / Public Domain 2. Canva

Those who participated in the World Wars saw and experienced things they could never have imagined. Victor Goddard, a member of the Royal Air Force who served England in both conflicts, saw more than most, and some of it couldn’t be explained away by science.

Here is the tale of his ghostly wartime experiences.

Victor Goddard’s early life and military career

Victor Goddard grew up the son of a wealthy doctor. He always seemed destined for a military career, attending the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth. While he first served as a midshipman during World War I, he later moved to the Royal Naval Air Service. Toward the latter part of the conflict, Goddard flew reconnaissance missions over the Somme.

Following the First World War, Goddard continued to be an early pioneer of flying. In 1925, he served as an instructor for Jesus College, Cambridge’s air squadron, after which he commanded a bomber squadron in Iraq. By 1935, he’d been made the deputy director of intelligence for the Air Ministry. He remained in this position until the Second World War.

Victor Goddard posing for a photograph
Victor Goddard during the Second World War. (Photo Credit: Unknown Photographer of the Signal Corps / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

While serving during World War II, Goddard was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force, and later played a large role in preserving the RAF’s air assets against German attacks. He held a number of roles throughout the conflict, including as the Director of Military Cooperation for the Air Ministry and the Air Commodore Chief of the Air Staff, Royal New Zealand Air Force. Following the war, he became the RAF’s representative in Washington, DC.

While serving with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, he fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands Campaign, for which he was presented with the US Navy‘s Distinguished Service Medal.

Goddard’s first experience with the paranormal occurred during WWI

Victor Goddard was commanding a squadron during WWI when an air mechanic named Freddy Jackson was killed at the HM Naval Seaplane Training School – later known as the HMS Daedalus. Jackson had walked into a rotating propeller and died from his injuries.

The apparent ghost of deceased Air Mechanic Freddy Jackson in a group photograph
Deceased Air Mechanic Freddy Jackson allegedly appears in this photo, fourth from the left, on the top row. (Photo Credit: Sir Victor Goddard / Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0)

On the day of Jackson’s funeral, the crew from the Daedalus posed for a picture. When looking over the photo, they noticed a suspicious man in the top row: Freddy Jackson. According to legend, the air mechanic had not yet realized he was dead, so showing up for the photo was a formality. One source claims the site where the photo was taken was also where Jackson met his untimely death.

Victor Goddard’s next eerie experience occurred in 1935

In 1935, Victor Goddard was a wing commander. He was sent on a mission to check out an abandoned Scottish airfield in the village of Drem. When he reached the airfield, he noted it was in terrible shape. In fact, he found “cattle grazing on grass that had forced through cracks in the tarmac.”

Abandoned remains of RAF Drem
Abandoned remains of RAF Drem, 2006. (Photo Credit: Richard Webb / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

Author JH Brennan writes, “Later that day, [Goddard] ran into trouble while flying his biplane in heavy rain and decided to fly back to Drem to get his bearings. As he approached the airfield, the torrential rain abruptly changed to bright sunlight.” He also notes that, when Goddard looked down, the airfield was completely repaired and in use. In addition, the aircraft were painted yellow.

Four years later, at the outbreak of WWII, RAF Drem was repaired and put back into action. There was another change as well. While the RAF’s planes had previously been painted silver, in 1939, they were painted a bright yellow.

Goddard had another paranormal experience later in life

Later in life, Victor Goddard was at a party being held in his honor in Shanghai, China. While there, he overheard Gerald Gladstone, captain of the HMS Black Prince, telling other partygoers about a dream he’d recently had.

In the dream, Goddard had died in a plane crash over the coast of Asia, the cause of which was atmospheric icing. The airman told Gladstone, “I’m not quite dead yet. What made you think I was?”

HMS Black Prince at sea
HMS Black Prince. (Photo Credit: Topical Press Agency / Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Ironically enough, a flight Goddard took over Asia had many similarities to Gladstone’s dream. He was in the air with two civilian men and one woman. The weather turned bad and the aircraft had to make a crash landing on the Japanese island of Sado. Thankfully, all of the passengers onboard survived the crash.

Victor Goddard’s paranormal experiences had a major impact on him

The paranormal experiences never left Victor Goddard. While he spent his later life in education, he still read and lectured about flying saucers. He also pushed Sir George Trevelyan, 4th Baronet to create the Wrekin Trust, a group focused on spiritual education. Goddard also wrote books about the paranormal, including 1975’s Flight Towards Reality, where he made the case for extrasensory perception.

Engraving of Victor Goddard's petrol engine helicopter
Engraving of Victor Goddard’s design for a petrol engine helicopter. (Photo Credit: Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

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The incident between Goddard and Gladstone was later written up for The Saturday Evening Standard in May 1951, and was portrayed in the 1955 film, The Night My Number Came Up. A character based on Goddard was played by Michael Redgrave, whose portrayal upset the RAF veteran. According to Goddard, Redgrave’s emotional reaction to the crash was not how he’d actually reacted.

Todd Neikirk

Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics, entertainment and history writer. His work has been featured in,, and He enjoys sports, politics, comic books, and anything that has to do with history.

When he is not sitting in front of a laptop, Todd enjoys soaking up everything the Jersey Shore has to offer with his wife, two sons and American Foxhound, Wally.