The only Old Boy fatality from WW2, W H Gould can surely be hailed as a hero of whom the School can be proud.
The Chronicle of 1943 reads: “Gould was one of the original boys when the school first started in 1936 and was here for one year. He was outstanding in work and games, being one of the best bats the school has had. He won the Boxing weight that year. He was a Prefect and the school’s first Librarian. From here he went on to New Plymouth Boys’ High School where he did excellently, distinguishing himself especially at lawn tennis. On the outbreak of war, Gould joined the RNZAF and completed his training in this country. In 1941 he went overseas as a Sergeant Pilot and after operational training in England, received his commission. He took part in many raids over Europe as Captain of a Hampden bomber and it was on one of these that he was posted as missing. News of his promotion to Flying Officer was received shortly after and in May of this year (1943), it was learned that he had been killed at Saabrucken on 29 August 1942.”
Most young men of his age (including St Peter’s boys who left 1936-39) usually undertook a year of training before seeing action. Prior to mid-1944, it was unusual to be in command of a modern aircraft and with the rank of Flying Officer by the age of only 20. Gould must have been selected at an early age for Bomber command (September 1942) Of all the Hampdens built, almost half (714) were operational losses and the design was retired as unsuitable as early as 1943.
Did that contribute to his demise? A Hampden bomber was described as no match for the new enemy fighters and would be vulnerable from the flak defending Saarbruken. Sent into the heart of Industrial German with a load of small bombs that, at best, perhaps could spread alarm and despondency but token damage? The Hamden has been described as “a beautiful aircraft to fly, but terrible to fly in”. Aircrews referred to it as the “Flying Suitcase” because of its cramped crew conditions. The crew of four were seated within a fuselage as wide as a fighter’s with a severely compromised chance of survival if shot down. The Pilot (Gould) had to manipulate 111 items relating to the instruments, the engines and bomb switches.
In London, England, there is a statue of bomber command possibly inspired by a book on the crew of a Hampden bomber, crashed 17 months prior to William Gould’s last flight. The book reads: “They came from widely different backgrounds and from all parts of the Commonwealth and beyond. Each was well educated, intelligent, fit and determined. All had undergone long, detailed and rigorous training which was itself fraught with death and danger to reach the point in their lives. Even in 1941 they were acutely aware that the chances of survival were minimal; the future was the next operation, nothing further. Without doubt they were brave young men at the peak of their physical and mental powers. All were twenty-five or under”. [describing the crew of the Hampden 3054s 21 March 1941 from the book “The Boys” by John Lowe]
J. G. Magee, Canadian spitfire pilot, shortly before he was killed in action, wrote the following:
Up on the long delerius burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with eager grace
where never lark or even eagle flew
and while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
the high unsurpassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
By Ian Lackey, March 2020
The Sainty family lived at the beach end of our street, Sanders Avenue Takapuna (also the street of Smith brothers, Peter (Head Boy 1955) and younger Stuart) so I came to know them all quite well, including Ivan’s sister and only sibling, Shirley and their black dog aptly named “Sailor”.
Ivan sometimes spoke with me about St Peter’s as did Peter Smith so there was a street generational connection therefore with the school 1940-1956.
When I was researching* (Wellington area) schools once attended by those lost in HMS Neptune, New Zealand’s worst war-time Naval Disaster, the six schools, both Independent and State High combined, came up with only one name. However last of all I approached Wellington High School, the former Technical College and …!
Of course, the farmers who had led Axis forces a merry chase over rough terrain in Crete, Greece, or North Africa, or Pilots flying over Yugoslavia, Italy or Germany, in the closing stages of WW2 may have once attended an Independent or High School but a ship such as the cruiser Neptune was manned by Engineers, Plumbers, Electricians, and many types of artisans who would have attended the country’s Technical Colleges: Seddon in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch West High (now Hagley High) and King’s High in Dunedin.
So, although some St Peter’s boys went to those institutions of learning, Bruce Allen and James Dawson in my time, it would have been unusual for a King’s College boy to join the Navy at the bottom end.
But when at King’s in 1944, Ivan Sainty could observe the war going the way of the Allies so in order not to miss out, he elected to join up… as a Seaman Boy – the only opening for a 16-year-old. Following what must have been a hurried basic training he was posted to the famous cruiser Achilles, repaired from war damage when in 1943 she had permanently lost her X turret during enemy action at Guadalcanal and had rejoined the Allied fleets working in the Western Pacific. She was assigned to intercept enemy forces at Truk where Ivan received his baptism of fire. At the surrender of all Japanese forces in Tokyo Bay, Achilles represented the Royal NZ Navy and one story had it that Ivan actually witnessed… from afar, the signaling of the surrender documents on board USS Missouri.
Ivan elected to remain in the Navy – and served in at least two RNZN frigates during the Korean conflict.
I last saw him – on parade at HMNZS Philomel, the Devonport naval base resplendent in his No. 1 whites at a review by Earl Mountbatten in 1956 and we had shortly before met up at the Inter-ship athletic sports. As he would have then been aged about 26, and although I understand remained in the RNZN for some time afterwards, somebody else may be able to fill details of his post Navy career.
John attended St Peters from 1946-49, during an Auckland posting to New Zealand of his Royal Navy commander dad, Christopher.
Back in England he was called up for National Service 1955-57. During this time he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant (on demob full Lieutenant) in 44th Heavy Anti-aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, serving in the British Army on the Rhine in post war Germany. Activities included leading his platoon in the 4-day Nijmegan Road Marches, to be garlanded as if the liberating heroes, by then still war scarred Nijmegan citizens!, running in the winning team in the 1957 BAOR cross-country championships, and being capsized by barge wakes on the Rhine – he recalls dragging themselves ashore sodden and frozen, near Strasbourg Cathedral, the regiment having been disbanded and surplus officers’ mess cash spent among other things, on a canoeing trip for John and a fellow subaltern, toward the end of his Service!
Royal NZ Signal Corps; Lieutenant Colonel Australia, India /Pakistan with the UN (UNIMOGIP), New Zealand force Singapore, twice, mostly working in Malaysia and peacekeeping in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
Richard attended form 1 and form 2 in 1959 1960. He had a very adventurous life mostly in the New Zealand army. He attended Portsea officer Cadet school and served many years overseas in Australia, India /Pakistan with the UN (UNIMOGIP), New Zealand force Singapore, twice, mostly working in Malaysia and peacekeeping in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.
He was as a Lieutenant Colonel the last director of the Royal New Zealand Signals Corp. After Richard left the regular force he worked as head of the exercise writing team from the Territorial force.
Richard had a Master of Philosophy from Massey University and he was a Justice of the Peace.
He was a loved husband, father and grandfather. His mother, Pamela was a librarian at St Peters in the 1970s.
In 2016, at the Association’s annual reunion, Life Membership of the Association was conferred on WO2 (Rtd) Barry Cook for services to the Guns and the Association over many, many years. He had previously been awarded Life Membership of the Hamilton RSA for service to the RSA.
Barry, or Cookie as he is known to his friends, was conscripted into the Army through CMT in 1953, completing the 10th Intake and was posted to 4 Med Regt RNZA for Artillery training. On 3 December 1956, he enlisted into the Regular Force and retired after 20 years’ service in 1976 with the rank of WO2.
His initial RF posting was to the Artillery Wing at Papakura. Like many Artillery men of that era, he was transferred to 1 NZ Regt, Malaya with the rank of Bdr in 1958 and returned to 16 Fd Regt RNZA in 1960.
Barry served with Don Kenning’s Battery in SVN from July 1965 to March 1966 and was then posted to the National Service Training Unit as an Instructor, followed by a stint at the School of Guns as Staff Sgt IG. 1970 saw him posted back to 4 Med Bty RNZA as the BSM, taking over from Bob Blankley. His last two years of service were at the Hamilton Recruiting Office.
Barry’s principle trade as a Gunner was as a Sig and he served in both Malaya and Vietnam in that role and was the BC’s Pronto in SVN.
1962 saw Barry on exchange to Australia and in 1964 saw him taking part in Operation Powderhorn UK as Guard Sgt at the Tower of London.
Barry counts many Gunners as special friends, however, two stand out for him. The first is Lt Col John Masters MC, RNZA and the second is Master Sergeant Vince Pelito, Commo Chief, 173rd Airborne, Us Army, whom he met at Bien Hoa in South Vietnam. Both these men made a lasting impression on him and had the greatest influence on his Artillery career.
After completion of his service, Barry worked as the site and sales manager for the NZ National Field Days for 12 years, then did 18 months as a service station manager followed by 8 years as an assistant foreman for a manufacturer of boat trailers.
He has been heavily involved with his local RSA and is currently on the Executive of the Hamilton RSA and been their Parade, Marshall, on ANZAC Day for many years.
Throughout most of his career, Barry has been ably supported by his wife Maureen (Mo) and since retirement, overseas travel has been a highlight for them. In 2005 they travelled to the States with the Vietnam Veteran Travel Club. In 2007 they travelled to Passchendaele and Ypes with a VANZ tour and in 2013 Barry revisited Vietnam with his son Steve, who was at that time, a Colonel at Defence HQ.
There have been other highlights since retirement too – in 2006 Barry was part of the team involved with them memorialisation of 4 Med Regt and its successor 4 (G) Med Bty RNZA with the placement of a 5.5 Gun in Hamilton’s Memorial Park.
That same year he delivered the match ball to Hamilton’s Rugby Park by helicopter in a joint PR exercise between the Waikato Rugby Union and the RSA to observe ANZAC Day and in 2016 Barry and Mo were involved with the WWI Centenary Commemorations and the Last Post Ceremony at Pukeatua, the National War Memorial in Wellington where he recited the Ode and Mo recited it in Te Reo. And finally, Barry went to Canberra in August 2016 for the Australian Long Tan commemoration.
If you would like some information to be added or we have incorrect information listed, please email us here.