11 March 2007

Victoria Cross: M. D. Wanklyn


Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy; commanding HMS Upholder

Born: 28 June 1911, Calcutta, India

Citation: On the evening of the 24th of May, 1941, while on patrol off the coast of Sicily, Lieutenant‑Commander Wanklyn, in command of His Majesty's Submarine Upholder, sighted a south‑bound enemy troop‑convoy, strongly escorted by Destroyers.
The failing light was such that observation by periscope could not be relied on but a surface attack would have been easily seen. Upholder's listening gear was out of action.
In spite of these severe handicaps Lieutenant‑Commander Wanklyn decided to press home his attack at short range. He quickly steered his craft into a favourable position and closed in so as to make sure of his target. By this time the whereabouts of the escorting Destroyers could not be made out. Lieutenant‑Commander Wanklyn, while fully aware of the risk of being rammed by one of the escort, continued to press on towards the enemy troop‑ships. As he was about to fire, one of the enemy Destroyers appeared out of the darkness at high speed, and he only just avoided being rammed. As soon as he was clear, he brought his periscope sights on and fired torpedoes, which sank a large troop‑ship. The enemy Destroyers at once made a strong counter-attack and during the next twenty minutes dropped thirty‑seven depth‑charges near Upholder.
The failure of his listening devices made it much harder for him to get away, but with the greatest courage, coolness and skill he brought Upholder clear of the enemy and safe back to harbour.
Before this outstanding attack, and since being appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Lieutenant‑Commander Wanklyn had torpedoed a tanker and a merchant vessel.
He has continued to show the utmost bravery in the presence of the enemy. He has carried out his attacks on enemy vessels with skill and relentless determination, and has also sunk one Destroyer, one U‑boat, two troop‑transports of 19,500 tons each, one tanker and three supply ships. He has besides probably destroyed by torpedoes one Cruiser and one Destroyer, and possibly hit another Cruiser.

(London Gazette Issue 35382 dated 16 Dec 1941, published 12 Dec 1941.)

No comments: