World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. Lieutenant Commander Malcolm David Wanklyn was a Second World War British Royal Navy submarine ace and one of the most successful submariners in the Western Allied navies. Wanklyn and his crew sank 16 enemy vessels. Born in 1911 to an affluent family in Kolkata, British India, Wanklyn was influenced into a military career at a young age. His father was a successful businessman and engineer who served in the British Army in the First World War and his uncle was a destroyer commander who had a successful war fighting German U-Boats in the First Battle of the Atlantic. He developed a seafaring interest at the age of five and applied to join the Royal Navy aged 14. Despite some physical ailments, he was able to pass the selection boards. He progressed as commissioned officer fairly quickly and by 1931 had been promoted to sub-lieutenant and lieutenant two years later in 1933. After serving on a variety of surface ships, he joined the submarine service. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he was given command of HMS H31 which he commanded from February until August 1940. Wanklyn sailed on patrol in the North Sea, during which he sank one vessel. In August 1940 he was given command of newly commissioned HMS Upholder. In December 1940 the submarine was reassigned to the Mediterranean. Wanklyn began the first of his patrols in January 1941 and remained on operations in the Battle of the Mediterranean for the remainder of his career. During 15 months of operations, Wanklyn led Upholder on 27 patrols and sank 11 Axis merchant and troopships while damaging four more. During his combat career he fought many actions with Regia Marina (Italian Navy) warships. He sank one destroyer and one minesweeper, and damaged a light cruiser. In a rare achievement, he also sank three Italian submarines. It amounted to 128,353 tons of enemy shipping. For the sinking of the heavily defended enemy transport SS Conte Rosso without working Asdic, he received the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be bestowed upon personnel in the British and Commonwealth forces. On 14 April 1942, while on his 28th patrol, Wanklyn and his crew disappeared. He was posted missing in action. His exact fate remains unknown. Research suggests Upholder was sunk by a combination of an Italian warship and German aircraft. In 1986 the Royal Navy launched another submarine of the same name. The Upholder/Victoria-class submarine HMS Upholder served until 1994 when it was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Chicoutimi. It remains operational.
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Lieut-Commander, Royal Navy. Age: 30.