Private Thomas William Gould enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in March 1944, and in June 1944 volunteered for The Parachute Regiment.
Private Gould attended Parachute Training Course number 126 at RAF Ringway Course between 23 July and 5 August 1944. His report states that he was a ‘star performer in stick. Excellent disposition and performance.’
Private Gould was posted to 9 Platoon C Company 7th (Light Infantry) Battalion, and on 24 December 1944 boarded a ship at Dover for France. The ship was chased back to Dover by German gun boats, and left again at night, reaching France on Christmas Day. They then travelled by truck to the Ardennes.
Private Gould recalls the artic weather: ‘I spent the night on lookout hidden in a stack of firewood. When I did not report back in the morning, men were sent to investigate. They got me out with difficulty. Moisture from my breath on the wood had frozen solid, in the early hours, and I could not move.’
In February 1945 Pte Gould returned to Bulford to begin intensive training for the Rhine Crossing, when he was injured by a phosphorous grenade: ‘Two days before departure for Germany, a soldier kicked an incendiary believing it to be dead. It hit my leg and exploded. I was in hospital for 4 months but was able to re-join my unit in time for the departure for the Far East.
‘In August 1945 I boarded the P&O Line Chitral and arrived in Bombay, India. The plan was to make a seaborne attack on Malaya and from there to mount an airborne assault on the causeway into Singapore. The news of the atomic bomb and eventual surrender of Japan changed the situation. However the landing at Morib beaches, Malaya took place in case Japanese were still there. All was found to be clear, so we set sail again for Singapore.’
The Battalion used Singapore as base for raiding the surrounding islands, and in December 1945 moved to Java to help defend the Dutch colonists and Chinese from Japanese uprising. In March 1946 Pte Gould sailed to Malaya and from there took the train to Siam. C Company was posted to the Burmese border to defend a tin mine from possible Burmese Communist rebels.
In the autumn of 1946 the Battalion was posted to Palestine, while Pte Gould returned to England due to a family illness.
He was transferred to the 4th Parachute Battalion, and in March 1948 was demobbed.
Tommy passed away on 1 October 2014 aged 88.
By Rebecca Blackburn with information supplied by Tom GouldRead More