Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts VC, DSC

Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts  (28/07/1917 – 8/12/1979) was awarded the Victoria Cross while serving on board HM Submarine Thrasher during the Second World War, north of Crete, in the Mediterranean.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 35591, Page: 2548 reads:

“Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts, Royal Navy. 

Petty Officer Thomas William Gould, C/JXI47945-

On February 16th, 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”

 

He is buried in Holy Cross Churchyard, Newton Ferrers, Devon.

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