Monday, December 18, 2006

Henry Charles Goffin 1885-1973

Barrie Goffin was my father, Harry Goffin was my grandfather, Henry Charles was my great grandfather, and Harry/Charles Goffin was my great, great grandfather.

Henry Charles was apparently quite a character, (not to say his sons and grandsons weren't!) and as this biography states,

'He was a flamboyant and unorthodox character whose musical and evangelical gifts were well known in New Zealand and overseas, far beyond the confines of the Salvation Army'.

Take a look at his biography here on this site or check out

Friday, December 31, 2004

Family links

Who's who...
Let's start with my family and work back.

James Barrie Goffin (my Dad) married Elaine Kroenert and have three children Belinda, Alison (myself) and Robert.

Harry Goffin my (grandfather) married Grace Oxenbridge and had four children Peter, Barrie (my Dad), David and Elizabeth.

Dean Goffin (my great unlcle) married Marjory and had four children Kathryn (who married Captain David Wells), Tony who passed away aged 21, Heather (who married Lieutenant Geoffrey Shailer), and Margaret (who married Tony Rodgers).

Norman Goffin (my great unlcle) married Grace Mary Meade and had two children John Philip and Rodger Bruce. I think he may have married Evelyn Clair Smith and had one child - Alison Claire (please let me know if this is correct).
Gladys Ivy and Mary Irwin (my great twin aunts)

Henry Charles Goffin 1885-1973 born Plymouth, Devon, England (my great grandfather) married Catherine McLean Ferguson and they had five children (as listed above) Norman, Harry (my grandfather), Dean, Gladys and Mary.

According to marriage and death certificates Henry's father (my great, great grandfather) was named Harry or Charles Goffin and married Harriet Amelia Parsons, (her father was George Hickle Parsons). Harry/Charles was a barge owner and his occupation is also listed as a seaman.

It would be good to find out more about Harry Goffin's father so if anyone knows please post a message - thanks.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

One Of "Musical Goffin" Off to England. New Zealander Director of Britain's Slavation Army Music - New Zealand Free Lance newspaper 1956

Dean Goffin is my great uncle and was very well known in New Zealand.

When the Wanganella sails from Wellington on June 28 New Zealand music-lovers will wave farewell - if not goodbye - to Captain Dean Goffin who is leaving to assume the important post of bandmaster of Slavation Army musical forces in Great Britain. "Captain Goffin will be really the director of Slavation Army band and choir music when he reaches England," Cpatian C. Waite, Wellington, explained to the "New Zealand Free Lance".

One of three musical sons of a musical father, Captain Goffin became a bandmaster at the age of 18 years in 1936. At the time he was one of the youngest bandmasters in New Zealand. He will be the first New Zealander to be appointed to the post he is going to in Britain.

He is the youngest Slavation Army officer to hold the position and it is the first time the position has been help by an officer with the rank of captain.

The high reputation of the "Musical Goffins" is known to bandsmen all over new Zealand. Brigadier Henry Goffin, who composed the official march of the New Zealand Marching Association, guided the early musical education of his sons.

Eclipsed His Father

As a composer, Captain Goffin has eclipsed his father-tutor. His composition, "Rhapsody in Brass" was used as a test piece for the British Brass Band Championships in England in 1949 and for the New Zealand championships in 1951. Other composition are "Symphony on Thanksgiving", "Crusaders" and "The Light of the World".

When the First Echelon sailed for the Middle East in 1939, Captain Goffin sailed with it as bandmaster of the 4th Brigade with the rank of captian. His experiences in Italy had a profound effect on his musical talent. On his return from service overseas he became manager of a musical firm in Timaru.

It was a busy five years for Captain Goffin who was elected vice-president of the Timaru Choral Society, and also of the Timaru Municpal Band. He was conductor of the Timaru Musical Club orchestra and the Slavation Army band. In 1948 and 1949 he judged the New Zealand Brass Band Championships. He also judged several provincial championships.

He entered the commissioned ranks of the Salvation Army in 1952 and since then has trained and conducted the Slavation Army Congress Choir of 150 voices each year. He has composed vocal selections for the choir and also conducted the massed bands.

Captain Goffin has assisted with organising several large festivals and has devoted much time to lecturing and instructing army musical conferences.

Longfellow's "He the Best of all Musicians" could be aptly quoted to describe Captain Goffin, whose appointment overseas was described by Captain Waite as an honour to the New Zealand Salvation Army and to New Zealand as a whole.

The voyage to England will be interrupted to allow Captain Goffin to spend a month in Australia conducting massed bands, songster brigades and instructing musical conferences. His itinerary includes a visit to Townsville in the Northern Territory. He will resume his voyage to England on August 11, sailing in the Orontes from Melbourne.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Biography of Henry Charles Goffin

Henry Charles Goffin was born at Plymouth, England, on 8 March 1885, the son of Harriet Amelia Bickle and her husband, Henry Goffin, a barge owner. His father had been converted when the Salvation Army first arrived in Plymouth and his mother was one of the town's pioneer Army officers. Henry was educated at the Catholic Holy Cross Boys' School, where he showed outstanding musical ability, and at 15 became bandmaster of the Plymouth 2 Salvation Army Band.

Responding to a call to full-time Salvation Army service, Goffin entered the Clapton training garrison in 1903 and in November that year was commissioned as a lieutenant and appointed to Islington in London. Following a subsequent appointment to Aberdeen, he was promoted to captain and sent to Rothesay in the west of Scotland. There he met Catherine McLean Ferguson, who was also a captain in the Salvation Army. The couple were married on 26 April 1909 at Kilmarnock. There would be six children of the marriage.

A dispute with their superior officers over what they regarded as a matter of principle led to the Goffins giving up their officerships. Henry then worked as an insurance agent, although he and Catherine remained active in the Salvation Army's Rothesay Corps. His musical talents were well known within the Army, and in 1913 he and his family were sponsored as immigrants to New Zealand by the Wellington City Corps. Henry became the bandmaster to the corps and quickly raised its band to a remarkable standard of efficiency.

In 1918 the Salvation Army re-accepted the Goffins as officers, and for the next 17 years they provided leadership to congregations at Foxton, Invercargill, Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington, Christchurch and Napier. Both Henry and Catherine were outstanding platform personalities, with a creative capacity for evangelical leadership and a deep commitment to pastoral and social concerns.

Henry's musical compositions were published internationally by the Salvation Army, and his reputation in brass band and choral music spread throughout New Zealand. The Goffins spent several months in Britain in 1931, fulfilling many musical and evangelical engagements. They were accompanied by their son John Dean Goffin, who was later prominent in the Salvation Army.

On their return they served for 3½ years at Napier, where they worked to rebuild the Napier Corps and assisted in the rehabilitation of the city after the devastation of the 1931 earthquake. As in other centres, they also converted a number of 'disreputable characters' to Salvationism. In July 1935 Henry Goffin, by then a major, was placed in charge of all Salvation Army musical activities in New Zealand. His enterprising and dynamic leadership resulted in a significant raising of standards. From 1942 to 1946, with the rank of brigadier, he commanded the Army's work in the southern half of the South Island, and then held executive responsibilities in Wellington.

For some months in 1949 he was seconded to Australia where he led musical and evangelical meetings in all the main cities. After officially retiring in May 1950, he carried out a series of engagements in Britain. He was returning to New Zealand as chaplain on the immigrant ship Atlantis when news arrived that his wife was ill and dying. He left the ship at the Suez Canal and flew home. Catherine Goffin died on 1 January 1951.

In retirement Goffin also undertook lengthy relieving duties at Oamaru and at Kilbirnie in Wellington. In the Queen's Birthday honours list of 1961 he was made an MBE. The following year, on 27 December, at Hastings, he married Lily Rita Wilson, a Salvation Army major. He died at Wellington on 3 March 1973, survived by his second wife and five children of his first marriage.

Henry Goffin was a flamboyant and unorthodox character whose musical and evangelical gifts were well known in New Zealand and overseas, far beyond the confines of the Salvation Army.

C. R. BRADWELL Bradwell, C. R. Fight the good fight. Wellington, 1982 Bradwell, C. R. Symphony of thanksgiving. Wellington, 1994 Goffin, H. C. & J. Whitman. 'Son of Devon'. War Cry. 6 March--23 Oct. 1965 Obit. War Cry. 17 March 1973: 14 HOW TO CITE THIS

BIOGRAPHY: Bradwell, C. R. 'Goffin, Henry Charles 1885 - 1973'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 16 December 2003 URL: original version of this biography was published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography Volume Four (1921-1940), 1998 © Crown Copyright 1998-2004. Published by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington, New Zealand. All rights reserved.

Salvationist Bands' 'Father' Dies. Evening Post newspaper 1973

The man who was known as the "father" of Salvation Army bands in New Zealand, Brigadier Henry Charles Goffin, BME died in Wellington at the Weekend.

Brigadier Goffin was born of Salvationist parents in Plymounth, England in 1883. He showed such evidence of outstanding muscial ability that at the age of 15 he was commissioned as corps bandmaster.

Three years later he was an officer, in 1909 he married Captain Catherine McLean Ferguson and in 1913 they and their two small sons emigrated to New Zealand.

Here he led the Wellington Citadel band before going on to appointments in Foxton, Invercargill, Auckland, City Dunedin Fortress, Auckland Congress Hall, Christchurch City and Napier.

He was subsequently appointed Territorial Secretary for Bands, Special Efforts and publicity, Divisional Comander and Trade Secretary.

Remarried His wife died in 1951. Following that he commanded the Kilbirnie, Oamaru and Carterton Corps, besides campaigning in both Austrlaia and New Zealand.

In 1962 he married Major Lily Wilson. As a composer, conductor and teacher, the Brigadier was world renowned, his compositions being heard and enjoyed in almost every Salvation Army territory.

Brigadier Goffin is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Knighthood seen as tribute. - Dominion newspaper 1983

Salvation Army Commissioner Dean Goffin said he had to do a lot of soul-searching and praying before deciding to accept his knighthood.

"On personal subjective feelings I would have turned it down," he said.

However he believes the honour was a tribute to the Slavation Army in its centennial year and was bestowed on him because he was a New Zealander in "the top job".


"It's not me thy're giving it to but the Slavation Army for 100years of sacrificial service." Commissioner Goffin was born in Wellington within 100 metre of the Slavation Army citadel. Educated at Napier Boy's High and Otago University, where he graduated as a bachelor of music, he has an international repurtation a a composer.

During World War Two he did six years military service in North Africa, Crete and Italy. In 1951 he and his wife, Marjory, entered the Slavation Army training college. They were commisssioned as Slavation Army officers the following year.

Though full-time ministry meant giving up activities outside the church including secular music, Commissioner Goffin said this was more than comperdated for by a 10-year stint in charge of the army's musical affairs in Britain. In 1965 he directed the army's centennial celebrations in London. Before being appointed communication in January 1980 he was divisional commander in Palmertaon North, Auckland and Wellington from 1966 to 1977 and chief sectretary of the army from 1977.


Commissioner Goffin was in the headlines ealier this year when he attacked a National Council of Churches seminar on racism during an ecumernical service attended by the Prime Minister, other MPs, church leaders, the judiciary and representatives of the diplomatic corps. He and his wife retire in October this year will be going to live in Auckland.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Wellington brass band, winners of the C grade Championships and stuggling for higher honours. The Evening Post newspaper 1981

For the first time they face their new conductor. Admid some laughter he announced his ambition to take the band on to the New Zealand A grade championship.

That was nearly 30 years ago. This year the band and its conductor, the same conductor, made it. The band was the "Evening Post" Onslow Band, at one time the Wellington Tramways Band. The conductor, Norman Goffin. This year they were the New Zealand Brass Bands' Association a grade champions.

The winning bandsmens' first thought was the pleasure the success would give Norman Goffin. His first thought was of the band. After all their hard work over the years they deserved this success.


Norman Goffin's approach to winning probably stems from his Scottish and Slavation Army backgrounds. His music began in the Salvation Army.

Brigadier Harry (Henry) Goffinof the Salvation Army arrived from Scotland with his family in 1913. He had come to New Zealand to conduct the Wellington Citadel Band, then, as now, a fine band. The Goffins arrived in the middle od a general strike. One way and another they survived.

Brigadier Harry (Henry) Goffin was a remarkable man. He would talk to his band about canons, fuges and counterpoint, and sing them the themes from the Handelian sections they played. Norman Goffin went along to rehearsals. That is how he picked up music.


One day at reheardal he also picked up a cornet, had a look at it, tentatvely blew it, played a hymn tune. Next day, at nine years old, he was in the band. Norman Goffin does not remember ever having a formal lesson on his instrument. Nor did he have much in the way of fomal learning about conducting although he did achieve a rare distinction, an LTCL in that line. Playing and conducting just happened.

There were five children in Brigadier Goffin's family. They all followed in father's footsteps in the Slavation Army. Norman Goffin, after the Second World War became a Methodist. A young sister married into the Presbyterian church. His younger brother Dean is now head of the Slavation Army in New Zealand.

With Characteristic modesty Norman claims that Dean was the real musician of the family. One feels that he regrets that Dean's Slavation Army religious activities have taken him away from music.

Dean Goffin was a prolific and much respected composer of Slavation Army music. In those days Slavation army bands kept to their own music. There were Salvation Army bands and "outside" bands. Today the "outside" bands include an increasing number of religious pieces in their repertoire. Salvation Army bands have been known to play "Orpheus in the Underworld."

Before the Second World War, Norman Goffin conducted the Christchurch Salvation Army Band. After the was he was deputy conductor of Woolston, now the celebrated Skellerup Woolston Band. He went to the university of Caterbury studying for a bachelor of music degree. He had to give up iniversity studies when the oil company for which he worked posted him to Wellington.
It was then he tool over the lowly Wellington Tramways Band. The rest is history. The Onslow Band tried for the A grade championship in 1969 with Dunedin's Kaikorai Band. This year "Evening Post" Onslow was top band.

But winning is not everything, says Norman Goffin. It is not even the most important thing. Working at and with musicians gives him mose pleasure.
"There's a great sense of achievement", he says, "when you take a group of ordinary blokes with some condierable technical ability but limited musical background and help them towards fulfilling their potential as musicians. Were if not for brass bands I would have found life frustrating".

Now retired after 42 years with Shell Oil, Norman Goffin still finds music the real dinkum oil. He had extended his activities into the adjudicating field. Last year he adjudicated in London for the European championships and had judged in australia nine times. He goes over to the prestige Ballarat contest this year.

It seems it can be said about the brass band movement as one of the churches says about its adherent: "if you get them before they are 12, you have them for life."

Monday, December 06, 2004

Henry Charles Goffin music

'The Sailor' Words and Music by Henry Charles Goffin

The sheet music items held in the Sheet Music Archive of NZ and any scanned or photocopied images of these items remain the property of the Archive and David Dell. Please see Conditions of Use .
Henry Charles Goffin (1885-1973) was an internationally renowned bandmaster, choir leader and composer whose direction of the Salvation Army in both musical and spiritual activities in Wellington, then Australasia, was inspiring and of lasting impact. He was father of the noted brass band player, conductor, and composer, Norman Goffin. This fanciful rendering of a WWI North Sea naval engagement between "OHMS New Zealand" and the "Blucher" is by the artist "I.R." and features imitative typography of hawser and knotwork. This second edition was published by the Wellington-based Henry Warren Kelly