Thomas William Gould

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Thomas William Gould
Born28 December 1914
Dover, Kent
Died6 December 2001 (2001-12-07) (aged 86)
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  Royal Navy
Rank Lieutenant
Unit HM Submarine Thrasher
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Victoria Cross

Thomas William Gould VC (28 December 1914 6 December 2001) [1] was an English Jew who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Victoria Cross Highest military decoration awarded for valour in armed forces of various Commonwealth countries

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Contents

Details

Gould was 27 years old, and a petty officer in the Royal Navy during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

A petty officer (PO) is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-5. In many nations, they are typically equal to a corporal or sergeant in comparison to other military branches. Often they may be superior to a seaman, generally the lowest ranks in a navy, and subordinate to a more senior non-commissioned officer, such as a chief petty officer.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

On 16 February 1942 north of Crete, in the Mediterranean, HM Submarine Thrasher, after attacking and sinking a supply ship, was itself attacked. Thrasher was subjected to a three-hour depth charge attack and aerial bombing.

Later, after surfacing, two unexploded bombs were discovered in the gun-casing. Petty officer Gould and Lieutenant Roberts removed the first one without too much difficulty, but the second bomb had penetrated the side plating of the gun emplacement, and then the deck casing above the pressure hull. Roberts and Gould entered the confined space (which was no more than 2 ft high in places), and lying flat, wormed past deck supports, battery ventilators, and drop bollards. The petty officer then lay on his back with the 150 lb bomb in his arms while the lieutenant dragged him along by the shoulders. "It was then a matter of the two of us, lying horizontally, pushing and pulling the bomb back through the casing. It was pitch black and the bomb was making this horrible ticking noise while the submarine was being buffeted by the waves". [2] Meanwhile, Thrasher was surfaced, stationary, and close inshore to enemy waters. If the submarine was forced to crash dive, both men would drown. It was 50 [2] minutes before they got the bomb clear, wrapped it in sacking, and dropped it over the side. [3]

Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts VC, DSC was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Gould standing in the casing-hatch on Thrasher after her return to harbour, showing the bomb damage. Damage to the casing of HM Submarine THRASHER after two bombs struck her off Crete on the night of 15-16 February 1942. Neither exploded and both were removed by two members of the crew. A8710.jpg
Gould standing in the casing-hatch on Thrasher after her return to harbour, showing the bomb damage.

Later life

Medals of Thomas William Gould displayed ine the Jewish Museum London (Victoria Cross: left) British medals of Tommy Gould (40501818441).jpg
Medals of Thomas William Gould displayed ine the Jewish Museum London (Victoria Cross: left)

Tommy Gould went on to become one of the founders of the 43 Group, a group of Jewish ex-servicemen who fought the Fascists after World War II. [4] His VC is held by The Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women, in The Jewish Museum London in Camden.

The 43 Group was an English anti-fascist group set up by Jewish ex-servicemen after the Second World War. They did this when, upon returning to London, they encountered British fascist organisations such as Jeffrey Hamm's British League of Ex-Servicemen and later Oswald Mosley's new fascist party, the Union Movement. The activities of these fascist groups included antisemitic speeches in public places, and from the rank-and-file fascists, violent attacks on London Jews and Jewish property. Group members broke up far-right meetings, infiltrated fascist groups, and attacked the fascists in street fighting.

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References

  1. "Tommy Gould VC". The Daily Telegraph . London. 7 December 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  2. 1 2 Gould, Thomas William (10 April 2001). "Our brave heroes". Daily Express.
  3. "No. 35591". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1942. p. 2548.
  4. "Last reunion for war heroes who came home to fight the fascists - This Britain - UK - The Independent". The Independent. London. 22 February 2009.

The Register of the Victoria Cross is a reference work that provides brief information on every Victoria Cross awarded until the publication date. Each entry provides a summary of the deed, along with a photograph of the recipient and the following details where applicable or available - rank, unit, other decorations, date of gazette, place/date of birth, place/date of death, memorials, town/county connections, and any remarks. The book was first published by the quarterly magazine, This England in 1981, a revised and enlarged edition in 1988 and a third edition in 1997. There is no editor noted on the cover page or the title page but Nora Buzzell is acknowledged in all three edition specially in the 1988 and 1997 editions as compiled and researched for This England by Nora Buzzell.