Nat Gould

His life and books

Sir Basil Gould

Basil John Gould
Born: 1883
Died: 1956
Charles Gould 1832-1909
Mary Ellen Utterton 1847-1934
Charles Hamerton Gould 1865-1944
Annie Jane Hamerton Gould 1867-1867
Elinor Madeleine Gould 1878-1943
Hilda Mary Gould 1875-1957
Harold Utterton Gould 1876-1954
Kenneth Luke Gould 1877-1952
Edwin Charles Gould 1879-1965
Mary Dorothea Gould 1886-1969
Lorraine Macdonald Kebell 1898-1935
Cecily Audrey Good 1914-2009
By Lorraine Macdonald Kebell
Charles Robert Gould 1920-1944
Richard Gould 1922-2014

Basil John Gould was born on 29 December 1883, son of Charles Gould 1832-1909 and his second wife Mary Ellen Utterton 1847-1934, and descended from William Gould 1677-1772 of Pilsbury Grange. He was a fourth cousin of Nat Gould and a great-grandson of the silversmith Paul Storr 1770-1844.

Known by the nickname "B.J.", Basil John Gould was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1907 and was soon after transferred to the Indian Political Service. He was British Trade Agent in Gyantse, Tibet from 1912 to 1913.

In 1912, the Dalai Lama asked that some "energetic and clever sons of respectable families" should be given "world-class educations at Oxford College, London". The Indian government decided that Basil Gould, who was about to go on leave back to England, should guide the four young boys (known as the "Rugby Boys") on their journey to the United Kingdom and assist them during their first few weeks in England in April 1913 (1).

Basil Gould married Lorraine Macdonald Kebell, born in 1898 the eldest of the five children of Cecil and Mary (née Cameron) Kebell who were farmers at Te Hoe, Alfredton, Wellington, New Zealand. Educated in New Zealand and in London (possibly at Queen’s Gate), she had met Basil Gould in August 1921 while on holiday in England sailing at Cowes. They were married on 14 September 1921, and had two sons. In 1926 Basil Gould was posted to the British Legation in Kabul. As the old legation in the city had been destroyed by fire, a new legation was built some three miles outside the city. Once this was completed Lorraine Gould joined her husband in Kabul and stayed until fighting spread to Kabul in December 1928 during an uprising against King Amanullah Khan. Lorraine Gould and her two sons were evacuated to Peshawar. Lorraine Gould followed her husband to postings in Kurrum, Malakand and Waziristan and finally in 1933 to Baluchistan. Lorraine Gould died in Baluchistan in January 1935. One of the sons was killed during the Second World War (2).

In August 1936, Basil Gould led a delegation to Lhasa to negotiate with the Tibetan government on the possible return of the Panchen Lama to Tibet, and discussed British military aid to Lhasa. He sought to create a British office in Lhasa, but this was rejected. On leaving Lhasa, his commercial representative Hugh Edward Richardson remained behind, equipped with a radio to maintain contact with Britain.

Basil Gould married as his second wife Cecily, daughter of Colonel Cecil Henry Brent Good of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight and his wife nee Irene Fillingham Saxby (3).

In 1940, Basil Gould attended the installation ceremonies of the 14th Dalai Lama in Lhasa, and presented him with a Meccano set. In 1945 the British Mission helped to start a school in Lhasa, but it was soon closed under pressure from Tibetan religious authorities.

Basil John Gould was made a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1921, and a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1929. He received a knighthood in 1941 (4). He died on 27 December 1956.

His publications include Report on the Discovery, Recognition and Installation of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (1941), Tibetan Word Book (with Hugh Edward Richardson 1943), The Discovery of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (1946), and Tibetan Language Records (1949). His autobiography The Jewel in the Lotus: Recollections of an Indian Political was published posthumously in 1957 (5).


(1) Alistair Lamb, Tom Browns from Central Asia article in Alex McKay The History of Tibet (IIAS Asian Studies)(2003) at page 99, based on Alistair Lamb The McMahon Line : A Study in the Relations between India, China and Tibet volume 2 pages 599-603 (1966).
(2) F. M. Bailey, Sir Basil Gould, CMG CIE (Obituary) The Geographical Journal volume 123 No.2 (June 1957) page 281.
(3) She became Cecily, Lady Gould upon her marriage to Sir Basil Gould by virtue of his knighthood.
(4) The Times (Obituary) dated 28 December 1956.
(5) F. M. Bailey, Sir Basil Gould, CMG CIE (Obituary) The Geographical Journal volume 123 No.2 (June 1957) pages 280-281.
Further information is included in the Lorraine Gould Collection, Middle East Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford (Reference code: GB165-0407).