Surgeon-Lieutenant Alfred Leslie PEARCE-GOULD
Royal Naval Defence
Date of birth: 6 May 1887
Date of death: 19 May 1918
Killed in action aged 31
Buried at Forceville Community Cemetery Plot 4 D
Alfred Leslie (known as Leslie) was born in London, the youngest of the three sons of Sir Alfred Pearce Gould, KCVO MS FRCS, an eminent surgeon, and his wife, Florence, of 10, Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square, London W1.
Leslie was a Junior and Senior Scholar at Charterhouse, in Verites House from Oration Quarter (autumn term) 1900 to Long Quarter (spring) 1905, when he was awarded a Leaver’s Exhibition. He came up to Christ Church as a Scholar in 1905 and remained until 1910, graduating B.A., with first class Honours in Natural Science, in 1909, and M.A., M.B., and B.Ch. in 1913. He went on to University College Hospital, where he won the Prize in Practical Surgery in 1913, and the Atchison scholarship in 1914, taking the M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. Lond. in 1913, and the F.R.C.S. in 1916. He held the posts of house physician and obstetric house physician. In 1916, he obtained the higher degrees of M.D. and M.Ch., and, in the following year, he was elected to a Radcliffe Travelling Fellowship of the University of Oxford 1917-1920. During the war he published several Papers on clinical subjects.
He commenced service on 6 August 1914, and served in Gallipoli and France.
From Great Britain, Royal Naval Division, Casualties of the Great War, 1914-1924:
Alfred Leslie Pearce-Gould
On 8 January 1918 he was appointed to the Royal Naval Division Surgeon Ross RN (sick). Draft for British Expeditionary Force 23 January 1918, joined 150th (RN) Field Ambulance and detached to 149th (RN) Field Ambulance (V Corps Main Dressing Station). Joined 148th (RN) field ambulance for duty 16 February 1918, proceeded to 2nd Royal Marine Bn for temporary duty for 24 hours to relieve Lt Daw RAMC
20 February 1918, posted to 2nd RM Bn 28 February 1918, joined 1st RM Bn 28 April - 19 May 1918. DD
Excerpt from the 1st Royal Marine Battalion (aka 1st Bn. RMLI) War Diaries: (Transcribed from original documents held at the PRO, Ref: WO/95/3110):
“May 19th 1918 Normal activity. Surgeon A. PEARCE - GOULD instantly killed whilst standing outside sick bay by 77mm shell.
Night of 19/20th 2nd Royal Irish Regt. relieved Bn. in front line. Bn. moved back into reserve at Forceville - 1 Coy remaining in Engelbelmer Line, which was our line of resistance in case of attack
21st Bn. went to Baths & drew clean clothes. The funeral of the late Surgeon A.L. PEARCE - GOULD RN took place at Forceville Cemetery. 1 Officer & 10 ORs attended”
His obituary appeared in the British Medical Journal of 1 June 1918:
The Director-General of the Medical Department-REN states that Surgeon Pearce Gould's work was greatly appreciated in the navy, and that his loss will be very keenly felt both from the point of view of his professional capabilities and because he was such a cheery messmate.
Temporary Surgeon-General Rolleston, R.N., writes:
Since the outbreak of war in August 1914, when we were messmates at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, I had seen much of Leslie Pearce Gould, and learnt to admire his sterling qualities as a straight, clean English gentleman.
His life's motto might well have been, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might," for both his work and play reflected this. Among the first to volunteer as a temporary surgeon on August 3rd, 1914, he had a varied experience; but when, after being invalided from the Mediterranean with enteric fever, he was established at the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth, in a post which gave his surgical talents full scope and opportunities, he soon began to feel that he ought not to have such a job when others were bearing the brunt and dangers of active service at the front. After some delay and consideration, he asked to be transferred to the Royal Naval Division on the Western Front, though it was pointed out to him that the work he could expect there was hardly likely to be so useful as that he was doing at Plymouth. It was impossible not to honour the motives dictating a step destined, as it turned out, to cut short, so lamentably, a life of the greatest promise. With a broad outlook on medical science he would have made a real physician, but he had already decided on a surgical career and had laid the surest foundations for the highest kind of success.”
Probate was granted to his father and his two brothers, Hugh Pearce Gould, Lieutenant Welsh Guards and Eric Pearce Gould, surgeon on 21 June 1918.
He left £6,811-4s.
Forceville Community Cemetery, Somme, France