Thomas William Gould

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Thomas William Gould
Born 28 December 1914
Dover, Kent
Died 6 December 2001
Peterborough, Lincolnshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  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 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 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.

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]

Gould standing in the casing-hatch on Thrasher after her return to harbour, showing the bomb damage.

Later life[edit]

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, at the Jewish Military Museum in Hendon.


  1. ^ "Tommy Gould VC". London: The Daily Telegraph. 7 December 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Gould, Thomas William (10 April 2001). "Our brave heroes". Daily Express. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35591. p. 2548. 5 June 1942. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Last reunion for war heroes who came home to fight the fascists - This Britain - UK - The Independent". The Independent. London. 22 February 2009. 

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