Medals from the Collection of the late Eric Smith

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Date of Auction: 23rd November 2009

Sold for £750

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Second World War submariner’s D.S.C. group of seven attributed to Lieutenant-Commander R. M. Wilmot, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his services in Torbay in the Far East in the period March to August 1945

Distinguished Service Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1945’, hallmarks for London 1947; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star, clasp, North Africa 1942-43; Burma Star; Italy Star; War Medal 1939-45, M.I.D. oakleaf, mounted as worn, together with a set of related miniature dress medals, very fine and better (14) £600-800

Footnote

D.S.C. London Gazette 20 November 1945:

‘For gallantry, skill and outstanding devotion to duty whilst serving in H.M. submarines in numerous successful patrols in trying climatic conditions in the Pacific, frequently carried out in shallow and difficult waters and in the presence of strong opposition.’

Roderick MaClean Wilmot, a native of Louth, Lincolnshire, was serving in H.M. Submarine
Torbay at the time of the above cited deeds, in which Commander A. C. C. Miers had won the V.C. and a brace of D.S.Os in the Mediterranean in the period 1941-42.

For his own part, Wilmot joined the
Torbay as a Sub. Lieutenant in mid-July 1942, while she was re-commissioning under Lieutenant Robert Clutterbuck back in the U.K., but in February 1943 she was once more ordered to the Mediterranean, where she carried out a spate of successful patrols - and had a close encounter with the German Q-Ship GA-45 that October. In fact by the time Torbay was ordered to the Far East in May 1945, her crew had added a D.S.O., two D.S.Cs, seven D.S.Ms and several “mentions” to her accolades.

And it was in the latter theatre of war, for five operational patrols carried out in the period March to August 1945, that Wilmot was awarded his D.S.C., so, too, his new skipper, Lieutenant-Commander “Pat” Norman -
Torbay accounting for two Japanese sailing vessels and a coaster, among other successes. In one of these patrols, off Sumatra, as recounted in the Daily Telegraph’s obituary for Norman, ‘Torbay fought a gun duel with a landing craft full of Japanese. When the vessel sank, the Japanese refused to become POWs, so Torbay’s largest Leading Seaman jumped in with a line and grabbed one Japanese to bring back as proof.’

No doubt this gallant rating was among the additional awards of D.S.Ms and “mentions” granted
Torbay’s crew for the same period. Having been advanced to Lieutenant back in February 1943, Wilmot remained a regular submariner after the War, commanded the Tactician in the early 1950s and was placed on the Retired List a few years later in the rank of Lieutenant-Commander; sold with a letter of provenance signed by the recipient and dated 30 April 1986.