Service Number: NZ41897
RNZAF Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 9th of February 1941
Rank Achieved: Flying Officer
Flying Hours: 445 hours
Operational Sorties: 25
Date of Birth: 15th of March 1922, at Auckland
Personal Details: Bill was the son of Herbert Leslie Gould, and Ethel Marion Gould (nee Hirst), of Auckland. He was educated from 1928 till 1935 at King's School in Auckland, and then lived for a year in Cambridge in 1936 whilst boarding at St Peter's School, on Hamilton Road. While at the school William had represented St Peter's as a heavy weight boxing champion, and during 1936 when the school first opened he had been the school's librarian.
From 1936 Bill then boarded at New Plymouth Boy's High School, where he matriculated in 1938. He gained his Higher Leaving Certificate at the school too.
As a tennis player he had held the North Taranaki Boys' Doubles title and was a scholl champion, plus he played in the NPBHS First XI cricket team. He was also in the cadets at school, attaining the rank of Corporal.
Following his schooling, Bill went in 1940 to Auckland University College for one year, where he studied law. However he decided to put his academic studies aside and he joined the RNZAF.
Service Details: Bill began his RNZAF career on the 9th of February 1941, undergoing recruit training at Initial Training Wing at RNZAF Weraroa, Levin.
He then began training as a pilot on Tiger Moths form the 23rd of March 1941 with No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School, at RNZAF Station Harewood in Christchurch. He soon progressed on the 3rd of May 1941 to No. 2 Service Flying Training School, at RNZAF Station Woodbourne, Blenheim, where he flew the Airspeed Oxford. he received his wings on the 15th of June 1941, and shortly afterwards on July 26th he was promoted to Sergeant.
Bill embarked on the 14th of August 1941 for Britain, arriving at No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre, in Bournemouth, England, on September 28th.
Bill was assigned to No. 16 Operational Training Unit at Upper Heyford on the 21st of October, where he completed his training over the next five months on Avro Ansons and Handley Page Hampden bombers.
Bill and his crew, who'd honed their skills together at OTU, were then posted on the 28th of March 1942 to No. 408 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, based at Leeming in Yorkshire. He was the only New Zealander on this bomber squadron, where he was once again flying Hampdens.
He soon began to rise rapidly in rank. He made Flight Sergeant on the 1st of June 1942, then on the 9th of the same month he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. Two months later, on the 9th of August he rose again to Flying Officer.
Bill flew 25 ops over places such as Cologne, Essen (twice), Bamberg, Dusseldorf, and Duisberg in Germany. He also made trips to France, bombing Dunkirk and Lille, and he sea-mined the Elbe River off Terschelling Island, Heligoland twice and in the Lorient, France. He also carried out three air-sea rescue searches and one meteorological op.
Details of Death: Bill's last op came on the night of the 28th/29th of August 1942. He took off as Captain of Handley Page Hampden AE227 (coded D) at 19.56hrs on the 28th from Balderton, Nottinghamshire on a raid to Germany. The target was Saarbrucken, Germany. With Bill as his crew were Pilot Officer L.L. Garner, F/Sgt C.A.L. Sutherby, and Sgt T.C.R. Murlis. Bill was the only New Zealander on board.
At around 03.00hrs on the 29th of August 1942, Bill's aircraft was one of several returning from the raid, heading westwards over Dudweiler. His aircraft was observed as very low, and it then crashed "behind the Blechhummerstrasse in a garden near the Jagerfruede rail station," according to a German police report.
All four crew members were killed in the crash. The report said one had parachuted but his chute had been damaged by flak hitting the aircraft. It is believed it was anti-aircraft fire that brought down Bill's aircraft. Bill was just 20 years old.
Buried at: Initially all four crew were buried at Dudweiler Cemetery, but after the war they were re-interred together to Plot 8. Row J, Joint Grave 9-10. British Military Cemetery, Rheinberg, Germany
Connection with Cambridge: Though not a Cambridge boy as such, Bill was educated during 1936 at St Peter's boarding school in Cambridge, prewar. Logically he was therefore a resident in the town, and would have been part of the community for that time. Because of his residing in Cambridge for that period he is included on this website.
For Your Tomorrow by Errol Martyn
"Lest We Forget : Commemorating the Men of New Plymouth Boys' High School, New Zealand, Pupils Once, Who During the World Conflict of 1939-1945 Gave Their Lives for Their Country That Freedom, Democracy and Decency Should Prevail" by Jack West, which was published in 1995 by the Centennial Trust NPBHS Old Boys' Association.
AIR 118/62 /b RNZAF biographies of deceased personnel 1939-45 Vol 4 Ea - Gw
The Waikato Independent newspaper dated:
16th of October 1942 - Airman Missing