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Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Wasn't sure whether to post this here or not but decided that surviving in those conditions was fairly ally,
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Lt Cmdr Tom Wilkinson RNR VC and the crew of HMS Li Wo, a pre war Yangse passenger steamer in China, The ship left Singapore on the 13th September 1942 eighty years ago, two days before the surrender. Tom Wilkinson was Merchant Navy who had been working in China and had never served a day in the regular RN.

Her crew of 84 consisted of survivors from HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse, naval reservists, including Australians and New Zealanders, five Army, two RAF, Six Chinese and ten Malay localally enlisted ratings.

Attacked several times that day by air attack she survived that day but on the 14th February she was in the Banka strait when she encountered a convoy of Japenese transports escorted by a squadron of warships on route for the invasion of Sumatra (now Indonesia then the Netherlands East Indies).

Lt Cmdr Wilkinson told the crew that he intended to close and attack the enemy. The decision was greeted with unanamous approval by the crew. The Li Wo changed course and went full speed towards the leading enemy transport. She only had 13 rounds for her one 4 inch gun. She caused a number of direct hits causing numerous fires and the troops on board began to abandon ship. She attacked a second ship with machine gun fire.

Heavily shelled by escorting Japanese warships, on fire, out of ammunition for her 4 inch gun and with many of her crew dead and wounded, Tom Wilkinson's final decision was to ram the blazing transport ship. Going at full speed the Li Wo rammed the transport amidships. The Japanese ship was abandoned and later sank. On fire and sinking Tom Wilkinson gave the surviving crew the order to abandon.

Lt Cmdr Wilkinson elected to go down with his ship. As she was sinking a solitary unamed RAF Flight Sergeant manning a solitary Lewis gun continued to trade fire with the Japanese ship until he was either killed or went down with the ship. The survivors of the Li Wo were machine gunned in the water by the crews of the Japanese warships. A few subsequently made it to shore and were eventually captured when the Dutch surrendered the NEI in March 1942. Accounts vary between seven and ten members of her crew survived the war.

Not the grandest ship in the Royal Navy with a polygot interservice, multi racial crew, but I sure that Nelson himself would have regarded her Captain, crew and ship herself of upholding the Nelsonian tradition of 'a Captain can do no wrong who places his ship alongside that of the enemy. In the highest traditions of the sevice indeed.

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The vessel thus became the most decorated small ship in the entire history of the Royal Navy. Here is the list of decorations awarded:

Lt Cmdr Thomas Wilkinson - Victoria Cross (Posthumous)
Sub Lt Ronald George Gladstone Stanton - Distinguished Service Order
Petty Officer Athur William Thomspon - Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Leading Seaman Victor Spencer - Distinguished Service Medal (later died in Japanese captivity 1945)
Able Seaman Albert Spendlove - Distinguished Service Medal (later co-author of the book Stand By To Die, an account of the HMS Li Wo action and the ordeals of survivors in Japanese captivity)
Lt Edgar Neil Derbridge RNZNV - Mentioned In Dispatches (Posthumously)
Sub Lt John Gardner Petherbridge, Malaya RNVR - Mentioned In Dispatches (Posthumously)
Albe Seaman (Signalman) Desmond Palmer - Mentioned In Dispatches (Posthumously)
Chief Petty Officer Charles Halme "Charlie" Rogers - Mentioned In Dispatches
Leading Seaman William Dick Wilding - Mentioned In Dispatches (served in Royal Navy into the 1950s)
Able Seaman John Smith - Mentioned In Dispatches

Among the other crew members were:

Able Seaman William Henry Baker - Killed In Action
Able Seaman John Thomas Frederick G. S. Bennett - Survived, possibly killed by Japanese troops on Bankga Island whilst evading capture
Leading Seaman Cyril John Cartwright - Killed In Action (ex-HMS Repulse)
Chief Steward Chu Woo Pau - Killed In Action
Leading Seaman Regional Cowtan - Wounded in bayonet attack, Survived, later Killed In Action on HMS Kung Wo
Leading Seaman Richard Clarence Farley - Survived, later Killed In Action aboard HMS Kung Wo
Leading Seaman James Bruce Douglas Hadley - Survived, Wounded, Captured by Japanese, died in Japanese captivity (ex-HMS Repulse)
Able Seaman Edward Hannan - Killed In Action
Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Charles Derek Harvey - Killed In Action
Water Tender Hisa Sung Fah - Killed In Action
Petty Officer Cecil Huntley - Killed In Action (ex-HMS Repulse)
Fireman Hwa Peng Loomg - Killed In Action
General Servant Ling Ah Ling - Killed In Action
Water Tender Loh chung Chu - Killed In Action
Sub Lt john Manson - Survived, possibly died in Japanese captivity
Able Seaman Muhammad Yusf bin Jafar - Killed In Action
Lieutenant (Chief Engineer) James Gall Murray - Killed In Action
Leading Seaman Thomas Henry Parsons - Survived, Mentioned In Dispatches for valour whilst in Japanese captivity, died 1999
Signalman Bernard John Radford - Killed In Action
Signalman Raja Anwar bin Raja Majid - Serious head wounds in action, Killed In Action either during the battle or shortly after
Lieutenant Andrew Robertson - Killed In Action
Able Seaman William Thomas Snow B.E.M. - Killed In Action (British Empire Medal awarded for previous gallantry aboard HMS Glasgow)
Able Seaman Leslie Topliss - Killed In Action
Fireman Wah Way Hung - Killed In Action
Sub Lt John Richard Wood - Killed In Action
Sick Berth Attendant Harry Young - Killed In Action

Link to the London Gazette for the award of the VC to Lt Cmdr Wilkinson, DSO to Sub Lt Stanton (a New Zealander) and CGM to A/PO Thompson. This was the fourth of the four VC's awarded in the Malayan campaign.

London Gazette.

A good little book about the action and the subsequent account of his survival after the sinking seen through the eyes of Sub Lt Stanton. Written in 1964 the language is a bit dated, but still plenty of cheap second hand copies around.

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Clydebank and Bri'gton? That's bending the definition of 'nice' just a wee bit, don't you think?

I lived in a flat in Brigton for 6 years. Couldn't wait to get out. I used to play Ride of the Valkyries at full blast out the open window when the Bands went past. The look of confusion on their face was priceless :)
 

engr172

War Hero
The vessel thus became the most decorated small ship in the entire history of the Royal Navy. Here is the list of decorations awarded:

Lt Cmdr Thomas Wilkinson - Victoria Cross (Posthumous)
Sub Lt Ronald George Gladstone Stanton - Distinguished Service Order
Petty Officer Athur William Thomspon - Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Leading Seaman Victor Spencer - Distinguished Service Medal (later died in Japanese captivity 1945)
Able Seaman Albert Spendlove - Distinguished Service Medal (later co-author of the book Stand By To Die, an account of the HMS Li Wo action and the ordeals of survivors in Japanese captivity)
Lt Edgar Neil Derbridge RNZNV - Mentioned In Dispatches (Posthumously)
Sub Lt John Gardner Petherbridge, Malaya RNVR - Mentioned In Dispatches (Posthumously)
Albe Seaman (Signalman) Desmond Palmer - Mentioned In Dispatches (Posthumously)
Chief Petty Officer Charles Halme "Charlie" Rogers - Mentioned In Dispatches
Leading Seaman William Dick Wilding - Mentioned In Dispatches (served in Royal Navy into the 1950s)
Able Seaman John Smith - Mentioned In Dispatches

Among the other crew members were:

Able Seaman William Henry Baker - Killed In Action
Able Seaman John Thomas Frederick G. S. Bennett - Survived, possibly killed by Japanese troops on Bankga Island whilst evading capture
Leading Seaman Cyril John Cartwright - Killed In Action (ex-HMS Repulse)
Chief Steward Chu Woo Pau - Killed In Action
Leading Seaman Regional Cowtan - Wounded in bayonet attack, Survived, later Killed In Action on HMS Kung Wo
Leading Seaman Richard Clarence Farley - Survived, later Killed In Action aboard HMS Kung Wo
Leading Seaman James Bruce Douglas Hadley - Survived, Wounded, Captured by Japanese, died in Japanese captivity (ex-HMS Repulse)
Able Seaman Edward Hannan - Killed In Action
Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Charles Derek Harvey - Killed In Action
Water Tender Hisa Sung Fah - Killed In Action
Petty Officer Cecil Huntley - Killed In Action (ex-HMS Repulse)
Fireman Hwa Peng Loomg - Killed In Action
General Servant Ling Ah Ling - Killed In Action
Water Tender Loh chung Chu - Killed In Action
Sub Lt john Manson - Survived, possibly died in Japanese captivity
Able Seaman Muhammad Yusf bin Jafar - Killed In Action
Lieutenant (Chief Engineer) James Gall Murray - Killed In Action
Leading Seaman Thomas Henry Parsons - Survived, Mentioned In Dispatches for valour whilst in Japanese captivity, died 1999
Signalman Bernard John Radford - Killed In Action
Signalman Raja Anwar bin Raja Majid - Serious head wounds in action, Killed In Action either during the battle or shortly after
Lieutenant Andrew Robertson - Killed In Action
Able Seaman William Thomas Snow B.E.M. - Killed In Action (British Empire Medal awarded for previous gallantry aboard HMS Glasgow)
Able Seaman Leslie Topliss - Killed In Action
Fireman Wah Way Hung - Killed In Action
Sub Lt John Richard Wood - Killed In Action
Sick Berth Attendant Harry Young - Killed In Action

Link to the London Gazette for the award of the VC to Lt Cmdr Wilkinson, DSO to Sub Lt Stanton (a New Zealander) and CGM to A/PO Thompson. This was the fourth of the four VC's awarded in the Malayan campaign.

London Gazette.

A good little book about the action and the subsequent account of his survival after the sinking seen through the eyes of Sub Lt Stanton. Written in 1964 the language is a bit dated, but still plenty of cheap second hand copies around.

View attachment 634900
She must have been low in the water, from carrying all those massive sets of cojones......
 
Wasn't sure whether to post this here or not but decided that surviving in those conditions was fairly ally, View attachment 634839

I tip my hat to those chaps - it must have taken a lot of determination to cope with what they went through. I can imagine there would have been times when it would have been very easy to just lie down and give up.
 

Chef

LE
Pat Quinlan
Caherdaniel pays tribute to famous son Pat Quinlan - Independent.ie
Ally* for what he achieved at the siege of Jadotville. Held off a superior force until his troops had run out of everything, and got all his men home alive after being held by the Katangese for a month.

I know one of the men who was with him. He can't praise him enough and reckons he's the reason they got through the siege as well as they did.

*Plus pipe and SLR, good combat indicators of allyness.
 

NSP

LE
Rarely seen the bloke in the middle has the grenades arse up
.Which clearly shows the detatchment cup for the igniter.
Those aren't grenades. He's just been foraging and found a bodega. Who said screw-top wine bottles were a recent thing...?
 
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