John was born on the 18th June 1916 in Maryborough, Queensland. He enlisted in Brisbane on the 11th October 1940.
After initial training, he was posted from No.61 Operational Training Unit to 275 Squadron RAF in October 1941. John was a founding member of 275 Squadron, which was formed at RAF Valley at that time to carry out ASR (Air Sea Rescue) operations in the Irish Sea. He remained with the Squadron until December 1941. During that time, he would have flown Westland Lysander Mk.111a and possibly the Supermarine Walrus.
John was then posted to 452 Squadron RAAF in March 1942, then briefly to 457 Squadron RAAF in April 1942 and then back to 452 Squadron until November 1943 when he finished his tour. After that, he had no more operational postings.
John would have joined 452 Squadron when it was ordered to to return to Australia. It withdrew from operations in Britain on the 23rd March 1942 and sailed for home on the 21st June. It arrived in Melbourne on the 13th August, and re-assembled at Richmond on 6 September. The Squadron began refresher training at Richmond with a motley collection of aircraft, its Spitfires having being commandeered in transit by the RAF in the Middle East.
452 Squadron returned to front-line service on the 17th January 1943. Re-equipped with Spitfires, it was based at Batchelor in the Northern Territory and joined 1 Fighter Group, defending Darwin. The Squadron relocated to Strauss on the 1st February 1943 and, with the exception of a brief period between the 9th and 27th March 1943, when it was deployed to reinforce the air defences of Perth, it remained there, protecting Darwin, until the 30th June 1944.
The photo was taken on the 24th March 1943. From left to right: Flying Officer John Gould, Flying Officer K. Bassett, Flying Officer D. Downes, Flight Lieutenant E. Hall (standing) Flying Officer J. Young, Flying Officer R. Williams and Flying Officer J. Lamberton. (Courtesy H. Turner.)
While John was with 452 Squadron, he was involved in an accident. The aircraft log for A58-60 stated the following:
Accident 2120 hrs 17th February 1943. When landing after completing night practice flight at Batchelor Strip, the pilot misjudged his approach to flare path when turning to the south west end of the NE/SE runway. He crashed into trees approximately 400 yards short of the flarepath. Both wings of the aircraft were torn off and fuselage was broken at the rear of the cockpit. Flying Officer J.G. Gould, Serv#404613, only suffered abrasions to both of his knees.
Unfortunately, John was later involved in another accident in A58-21, which was reported as follows:
Accident 1605 hrs 23rd November 1943. Pilot taking off from Livingstone Field in formation with another, when his aircraft struck a flare path light with the port oleo and swung off strip and collided with a stationary motor vehicle utility. Pilot, Flying Officer J.G. Gould, Serv#404613, was not injured, but driver and other occupant of the utility, Leading Aircraftsman Eric Harvey McCarthy, Serv#80427, and Flying Officer C.H. Bell, Serv# 118432 RAF, both of 1 RIMU (Radar Installation and Maintenance Unit), were killed.
After 452 Squadron, John spent the remainder of his time with various training units. He was known as a very experienced pilot and a conscientious, well-thought of instructor according to his last appraisal recorded on his personnel file. The pilots who had served in fighter squadrons in the UK were responsible for training recruits to a higher level of combat readiness.
John was discharged on the 2nd October 1945 from an Advanced Flying and Refresher Unit.
The Spitfire Association