William Athlestane Meredith Goode was born at Channel, Newfoundland on 10th June 1875 the younger son of Rev. Thomas Allmond Goode and his wife Jane Harriet, (nee Meredith). His father was a missionary with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and died in 1887. It is likely that his mother died in childbirth or as a consequence of the travails of same, records showing her to have died in 1875.
Young William attended various educational establishments including Foyle College, Winchester and Doncaster Grammar School. He went to sea in 1889 and served as a purser. Three years later he enlisted in the 4th United States Cavalry and upon his discharge he entered upon a career in journalism. From 1896 until 1904 he was with the Associated Press of America, (APA), and was their representative on Admiral Sampson's flagship during the currency of the Spanish- American War. He subsequently wrote an account of his time on board Sampson's vessel throughout the conflict. Secretary of State John Hay was to describe it as a, "splendid little war."
In I904 after six years as APA's special correspondent in London he became managing editor of the Standard. In 1911 he was to become joint news editor of the Daily Mail. Thereafter he entered into public affairs. He served as honorary secretary of the British committe for the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1913-14 and the years of the Great War saw him as the secretary and organiser of the national committee for relief in Belgium; a member of the Newfoundland and West Indian military contingents committees as well as holding positions at the Ministry of Food. Following the ending of hostilities he was to serve as a member of the British delegation at the peace conference and at the Supreme Economic Council. In 1920 he presented a report on economic conditions in Central Europe to Parliament based on the work that had been carried out by the relief missions.
His next appointment was as British delegate and president of the Austrian section of the Reparation Commission. He was to report that the recovery of reparations from Austria was impossible and that a reconstruction programme was required. Prevented from acting as financial advisor to the Austrian government by the intervention of the League of Nations he was to spend most of the interwar years as the London financial agent of Hungary.. In 1939, upon the outbreak of war, he joined the Ministry of Food as chief security officer and director of communications. The year 1942 saw him become chairman of the Council of British Societies for Relief Abroad. He died on 14th December 1944. During the last year of his life he was elected president of Foyle College Old Boys Association.