25 March 2007

Victoria Cross: P. S. W. Roberts and T. W. Gould


Lieutenant, Royal Navy; HMS Thrasher

Born: 28 July 1917, Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire


Petty Officer, Royal Navy; HMS Thrasher

Born: 28 December 1914, Dover, Kent

Joint Citation: On February 16th [1942], in daylight, H.M. Submarine Thrasher attacked and sank a heavily escorted supply ship. She was at once attacked by depth charges and was bombed by aircraft.
The presence of two unexploded bombs in the gun‑casing was discovered when after dark the submarine surfaced and began to roll.
Lieutenant Roberts and Petty Officer Gould volunteered to remove the bombs, which were of a type unknown to them. The danger in dealing with the second bomb was very great. To reach it they had to go through the casing which was so low that they had to lie at full length to move in it. Through this narrow space, in complete darkness, they pushed and dragged the bomb for a distance of some 20 feet until it could be lowered over the side. Every time the bomb was moved there was a loud twanging noise as of a broken spring which added nothing to their peace of mind.
This deed was the more gallant as H.M.S. Thrasher's presence was known to the enemy; she was close to the enemy coast, and in waters where his patrols were known to be active day and night. There was a very great chance, and they knew it, that the submarine might have to crash‑dive while they were in the casing. Had this happened they must have been drowned.

(London Gazette Issue 35591 dated 9 Jun 1942, published 5 Jun 1942.)

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