Gerard Muirhead-Gould

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Gerard Muirhead-Gould
Commodore Muirhead-Gould in May 1941
Born (1889-05-29)29 May 1889
London, England
Died 26 June 1945(1945-06-26) (aged 56)
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1904–1945
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held Flag Officer-in-Charge Wilhelmshaven (1945)
Flag Officer-in-Charge Sydney (1940–44)
HMS Devonshire (1936–39)
HMS Active (1932–33)
HMS Bluebell (1926–27)
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Legion of Honour (France)
Order of the Redeemer (Greece)

Rear Admiral Gerard Charles Muirhead-Gould DSC (29 May 1889 – 26 June 1945) was an officer of the Royal Navy.

Early life and career[edit]

Muirhead-Gould was born in London on 29 May 1889,[1] the son of Arthur Lewis Gould and Emily Gertrude Lilias Muirhead. He joined the Royal Naval Cadets in January 1904.[2] During World War I, he earned a Distinguished Service Cross, and was recognised as a Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur and a Chevalier of the Order of the Redeemer.[2] Between 1933 and 1936 Muirhead-Gould was a member of the Naval Intelligence Division, assigned to the British Embassy in Berlin.[2] During this time he kept Winston Churchill informed of the German military buildup, particularly in relation to the Treaty of Versailles and the later Anglo-German Naval Agreement.[2]

Second World War[edit]

During the war, a heart condition prevented Muirhead-Gould from going to sea.[3] The sinking of British battleship HMS Royal Oak on 14 October 1939, while at anchor in Scapa Flow by German submarine U-47 resulted in an Admiralty Board of Inquiry into how a submarine could have penetrated the harbour's defences, and what could be done to prevent a recurrence.[4] Muirhead-Gould, then a Commander, was one of the three senior officers on the Board.[4]

In February 1940, Muirhead-Gould became the Naval Officer In Command of Sydney Harbour, a posting that lasted until September 1944, although he was not popular among the officers and sailors of the Royal Australian Navy under his command.[5] He was the senior Allied officer during the relatively unsuccessful Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour. At some point Churchill considered Muirhead-Gould for the position of the Chief Director of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), although nothing came of this.[5]

Muirhead-Gould's previous experience in Germany resulted in his transfer in May 1945 to the captured German naval base at Wilhelmshaven.[3] There he suffered a fatal heart attack on 26 June.[3] Gerard Charles Muirhead-Gould was the 13th and last laird of Bredisholm (Scotland).


  1. ^ Taylor 2003
  2. ^ a b c d Grose 2007, p. 85.
  3. ^ a b c Grose 2007, p. 262.
  4. ^ a b Grose 2007, p. 15.
  5. ^ a b Grose 2007, p. 86.


External links[edit]