Thomas Wilkinson (VC 1942)
1 August 1898|
|Died||14 February 1942
|Service/branch||Royal Naval Reserve|
|Commands held||HMS Li Wo|
|Battles/wars||First World War
Second World War
Thomas Wilkinson VC (1 August 1898 – 14 February 1942) was an English sailor and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
On 14 February 1942 in the Java Sea, off Malaya, HMS Li Wo, a patrol vessel, formerly a passenger steamer, commanded by Lieutenant Wilkinson, sighted two enemy convoys, one escorted by Japanese warships, The lieutenant told his crew he had decided to engage the convoy and fight to the last in the hope of inflicting some damage, a decision that drew resolute support from the whole ship's crew. In the action that followed, a Japanese transport was set on fire and abandoned, and Li Wo engaged a heavy cruiser for over an hour before being hit at point-blank range and sunk. Lieutenant Wilkinson ordered his crew to abandon ship, but he went down with Li Wo.
His VC is in the Imperial War Museum.
- British VCs of World War 2 (John Laffin, 1997)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
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