Norfolk Arctic convoy veteran dies aged 95
- Credit: IAN BURT
Richard Gould, from Downham Market, joined at navy as a gunner in 1940, at the age of 19.
After serving aboard HMS Fiji, which was sunk by the Germans in the Battle of Crete in May 1941, he joined the battleship HMS Howe in August 1942.
Howe was assigned to protect Russian convoys with her 14-inch guns on what were known as suicide missions by those who faced German U-boats and aircraft intent on preventing convoys of supplies from reaching Russia via the North Atlantic. Thousands never returned.
Recording his memoirs in a BBC archive, Mr Gould would later write: 'My only real claim to fame is that I managed to survive the experiences and repercussions of World War II. Why should I have been spared to tell my tale when so many others perished? I have never been able to forget my experiences, and I have paid dearly - psychologically, spiritually and emotionally.'
Mr Gould was presented with the Ushakov medal by the Russian authorities in honour of his bravery two years ago.
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He told the EDP at the time: 'You had to keep moving, and keep the guns moving or they would freeze up. I did this for around 18 months in 1942-43 and not many survived.'
Mr Gould also served in the invasion of Sicily before leaving the navy in 1948 to become a miner. He later worked on the London docks for 30 years before retiring to Norfolk.
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He passed away on November 3, in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, after a short illness. Pre-deceased by wife Gladys, he leaves four children, 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
His funeral is being held tomorrow at Mintlyn (3.15pm). Family flowers only, donations to West Norfolk RNIB.