Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts VC

Name: Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts

Conflict: Second World War

Gazetted: June 9, 1942

Service: Royal Navy

portrait_roberts_peter scawen watkinson
Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts VC
Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire/July 28, 1917

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Lieutenant

Date of bravery: February 16, 1942

London Gazette citation [joint citation]:

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS for great valour while serving in H.M.S. Thrasher, to:—

Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts, Royal Navy.

Petty Officer Thomas William Gould, C/JX. I47945.

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.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: DSC

Place/date of death: Newton Ferrers, Devon/December 8, 1979

Grave/memorials: Holy Cross Churchyard, Newton Ferrers, Devon

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2000

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum