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Observations placeholder

Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard – The Night My Number Came Up



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Premonitions: A leap in to the future – Herbert Greenhouse [1971]

At the end of World War II, in January, 1946, Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard was in Shanghai on his way back to Australia. He was to leave next morning for a stopover in Tokyo, and the British consul-general, George Alwyne Ogden, gave a party in his honour.

It was on this night that he overheard an English soldier, Dewing, describe his dream.

"Too bad about Goddard," said Dewing. "He died last night in a crash."

When Dewing saw Goddard, he stared at him as if actually seeing a dead man. After an embarrassed silence, he apologized to the Air Marshal but urged him not to travel for a few days, so realistic had been his dream. Dewing had seen a "rocky, shingly shore." The plane had been flying in the evening and "there was a snowstorm . . . You had been over the mountains in a cloud . . . I watched it all happen."

Dewing described the plane as a Dakota, an ordinary transport plane. The craft Goddard was about to fly, the Sister Ann, was also a Dakota. On the dream-plane there had been three English civilians-two men and a girl- along with the military crew. The Sister Ann, however, would only carry military personnel.

Later in the evening, while Goddard was talking with his host, the Chinese butler brought an envelope on a tray.  It was a radio message requesting the consul-general to leave for Tokyo as soon as possible. With some misgivings Goddard agreed to take him along. He couldn't do otherwise.

A short time later Seymour Berry, an English newspaperman, asked if he could also be a passenger on the plane.

Then, when Ogden's butler appeared again with another message, Goddard feared the worst - and he was right. An official in Tokyo needed a secretary and requested Ogden to bring one with him. The girl was Dorita Breakspear, an Englishwoman.

Goddard was worried but he didn't want to alarm his passengers, so he said nothing. The next morning, at 6:30, the plane took off. All day it moved through dark clouds and had to climb as high as 17,000 feet, where ice kept forming on the wings. But it was still morning, and in the dream the crash had occurred in the evening. Perhaps they could get to Tokyo before nightfall.

The storm grew worse, and the plane was caught in a fierce gale-high over cliffs that bordered the sea. At 3:30 Goddard noticed uneasily that it had begun to snow. Then, through the mist they saw a tiny fishing village below-on a "rocky, shingly shore." The pilot circled around for an hour and finally, after the plane had manoeuvered through dark clouds with only occasional glimpses of the mountains below, the village came in view again. They were lost - and the plane was running out of fuel.

There was only one thing to do - attempt a precarious landing on the beach bordering the village. Goddard gave his passengers blankets, coats, and mattresses to cushion the shock of impact. He tried to control his emotions. It was now evening, as in the dream, it was snowing, and there was the mountain. Was this to be the end?

The pilot was going to try landing wheels down until the plane could slow up on the beach, then retract the wheels to keep the plane from turning over. They were now close to the cliff as the plane swooped down, overshot its goal, climbed, swooped down again, again overshot, and climbed back up for its final try.

Goddard looked at his passengels- two Englishmen and an English girl. They were huddled in their seats, white-faced. Once more the pilot dove - and the plane hit the ground with a bang. Goddard felt excruciating pain and watched in horror as Ogden flew out of his seat.

Ogden, lying on the floor in a heap, suddenly looked up and said, "My chair came off!" The tension was broken, and everybody laughed. There were no injuries. As the plane came to a stop, the villagers gathered around to help.

Why was the premonition accurate in every detail but the most important one - Goddard did not die in the crash?

If Dewing had been present at the actual crash but watching it from a distance, he might have jumped to the conclusion that Goddard and his passengers had perished. In his dream he saw the future in the same way making a false assumption for which Goddard, today very much alive, has always been grateful.

The source of the experience

Goddard, Sir Robert Victor

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps