Commander Nat Gould RAN
Commander Nat Gould RAN prepared for the Fleet Air Arm Association website
In researching for my book the RAAF in Russia, I came across a Russian troop’s magazine with an RAF Sergeant Pilot on the cover. More work turned up the book RAF in Russia written in 1941 about 151 Wing’s Russian expedition with Hurricanes.
It left out a lot. Like in the convoy was HMS Argus, the 1918 progenitor of all aircraft carriers. With Hurricanes as deck cargo, the approached to within a couple of hundred miles of Murmansk when she flew off the Hurricanes to find their own way to Russia. Two damaged their under carriages on the launching hump at the end of the deck and had to fly wheels down all the way. Other crated Hurricanes were erected in Archangel and flown to Vaenga near Murmansk.
Argus herself, expendable, went home via Norway and “shook up old Jerry” as they went past.
Then I found a photo of the Soviet Ambassador pinning a medal on a chap called Nat Gould. Tracking led me to Schofields Aero Club where Nat had been President. He was gracious and happy to talk. He was a Battle of Britain pilot who at short notice was told to grab his parachute, dinghy and kit and report to 151 Wing. It was all hush-hush. They found they were off to Russia. He was one of four Australian Sergeant Pilots. They flew operationally against the Luftwaffe before converting the Russians onto their Hurricanes.
Nat’s worst recollection was getting out of cold Russia, shipping back to UK on an Arctic Convoy then immediately being posted into the tropical jungle of Milne Bay.onto Kittyhawks
Postwar as I remember his story, he transferred to the Navy getting his Commission when the RAN were looking for pilots for HMAS Sydney.
A very potted history of one chapter in my book “The RAAF in Russia” and the side history covering the time before the sinking of the Tirpitz and the RAAF part in that event.