Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts
|Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts|
|Born||28 July 1917
Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire
|Died||8 December 1979
Newton Ferrers, Devon
|Years of service||1936-1962|
|Battles/wars||World War II
Distinguished Service Cross
Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts VC, DSC (28 July 1917 – 8 December 1979) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
On 16 February 1942 north of Crete, in the Mediterranean, HM Submarine Thrasher, after attacking and sinking a supply ship, was itself attacked.Thrasher was subjected to a three-hour depth charge attack and aerial bombing.
Later, after surfacing, two unexploded bombs were discovered in the gun-casing. Lieutenant Roberts and a petty officer (Thomas William Gould) removed the first one without too much difficulty, but the second bomb had penetrated the side plating of the gun emplacement, and then the deck casing above the pressure hull. Roberts and Gould entered the confined space (which was no more than 2 ft high in places), and lying flat, wormed past deck supports, battery ventilators, and drop bollards. The petty officer then lay on his back with the 100 lb bomb in his arms while the lieutenant dragged him along by the shoulders. Meanwhile, Thrasher was surfaced, stationary, and close inshore to enemy waters. If the submarine was forced to crash dive, both men would drown. It was 40 minutes before they got the bomb clear, wrapped it in sacking, and dropped it over the side.
His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.
- British VCs of World War 2 (John Laffin, 1997)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- Bravest of the Brave (John Glansfield, 2005)