Friday, May 13, 2016

Fullbore Friday

When it comes to WWII submarine warfare, most of you are well aware of the German U-boat story - heck I even have a signed print from one - and just as many the exploits of our Pacific submarine forces.

There are other stories out there that are sublime in the story untold by just calendar dates. Almost impossible to imagine, almost. One of those submarines and its leader would be the Royal Navy's HMS Turbulent and its Skipper, Commander John Linton, VC Royal Navy; May 1941 and brought into service a new T-class submarine, Turbulent. He became her first, and only, commanding officer. From February 1942, Commander John Linton took Turbulent on ten war patrols without rest.

Turbulent destroyed around 100,000 tonnes of shipping including one cruiser, one destroyer, one U-boat - and three trains! In September 1942, Linton received the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) for four Mediterranean patrols in Turbulent, and by 1943, he was the oldest and most experienced submarine commander in the Navy.

Turbulent set out on her last patrol before a refit on 24 February 1943. It was Linton's 21st wartime patrol and he was about to go home on leave for a well-earned rest.

The submarine never returned.

Turbulent was last seen around 12 March 1943. It is thought that the vessel hit a mine while on reconnaissance near Sardinia. In early May, Linton and his crew were posted missing, presumed killed. The submarine has never been found.
Linton had spent 254 days of his last year at sea, submerged for nearly half the time. During this time Turbulent was hunted 13 times, with 250 depth charges aimed at her.

Just weeks after John Linton was posted missing, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Unusually, it was not for any one act, but for sustained bravery during nearly four years of wartime command and 21 submarine patrols. This is why Linton's VC does not carry a specific date.
As a side-note, I found the above story at the Imperial War Museum's Load Ashcroft Gallery of Extraordinary Heroes. Well worth the effort to poke around some.

If you ever find yourself in Newport, Wales, make sure and visit the pub named after him. He'd approve.

Hat tip Steam.

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