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Commander R T Gould

Rupert Thomas Gould (16 November 1890 - 5 October 1948), was a Lieutenant Commander in the British Royal Navy noted for his contributions to horology (the science and study of timekeeping devices).



Gould grew up in Southsea, near Portsmouth, where his father was a music teacher and organist. From 15 January 1906 on, he attended HMS Britannia, at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, being part of the Graynville term, and by Easter 1907 examinations placed him at the top of his class. He became a midshipman, and thereby a naval officer, on 15 May 1907. He initially served on HMS Formidable and HMS Queen (under Captain David Beatty) in the Mediterranean. Subsequently he was posted to China (first aboard HMS Kinsha, then HMS Bramble). He chose the "Navigation" career track and, after qualifying as a navigation officer, served on HMS King George V, and HMS Achates until the outbreak of World War I, at which time he suffered a nervous breakdown and went on medical leave. During his recuperation, he was stationed at the Hydrographer's Department at the Admiralty, where he became an expert on various aspects of naval history, cartography and expeditions into the polar regions.

On 9 June 1917 he married Muriel Estall. That marriage ended by judicial separation in November 1927. They had two children, Cecil (born in 1918) and Jocelyne (born in 1920). His last years were spent at Barford St Martin near Salisbury, where he used his horological skills to repair and restore the defunct clock in the church tower.


Gould restored the marine chronometers of John Harrison. The actor Jeremy Irons played him in Longitude, a dramatisation of Dava Sobel's book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, which recounted in part Gould's work in restoring the chronometers.

He was also a science educator, giving a series of talks for the BBC's Children's Hour starting in January 1934, under the name "The Stargazer" and these collected talks were later published. He was also a member of the BBC radio panel Brains Trust.

In addition, he wrote and published an eclectic collection of books on topics ranging from horology to the Loch Ness Monster. His most famous horological book, "The Marine Chronometer, Its History and Development", was first published in 1923 by J.D. Potter and was the first scholarly monograph on the subject. It was generally considered the authoritative text on marine timekeepers for at least half a century.

In 1947 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute.

See also



  • Gould, Rupert T. (1923). The Marine Chronometer. Its History and Development. London: J. D. Potter. ISBN 0-907462-05-7.  
  • Gould, Rupert T. (1928). Oddities, A Book of Unexplained Facts. London: Philip Allan & Co. Ltd..  
  • Gould, Rupert T. (1929). Enigmas, Another Book of Unexplained Facts. London: Philip Allan.  
  • Gould, Rupert T. (1930). The Case for the Sea Serpent. London: Philip Allan.  
  • Gould, Rupert T. (1934). The Loch Ness Monster and Others. London: Geoffrey Bles.   and paperback, Lyle Stuart, 1976, ISBN 0806505559
  • Gould, Rupert T. (1946). The Stargazer Talks. G. Bles.  


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