Commander 

John Wallace 

 "Tubby" 

LINTON, 

VC DSO DSC

Royal Navy

Died On:
Aged:
23 March 1943

37

John Linton joined the Royal Navy in 1919.  He was appointed to HMS DOLPHIN ‘for Submarine Course’ in 1927 and subsequently served in HMS L22, HMS OBERON, HMS H43 and HMS OSWALD.

He was appointed to the ‘Commanding Officers Qualifying Course’ in 1935 and took command of HMS L21.  He was then appointed  to the battleship HMS IRON DUKE for his ‘Big Ship’ time.

At the outbreak of WWII John Linton was serving in HMS PANDORA on the China Station. PANDORA was transferred from the Far East to the 1st Submarine Flotilla based at Alexandria in Egypt, arriving in May 1940.  In December 1940, HMS PANDORA was further transferred to the new 8th Submarine Flotilla based at Gibraltar. In August 1941 he took command of HMS TURBULENT.

From the outbreak of war in 1939 to May 1943, when he commanded HMS TURBULENT’s last Mediterranean patrol, Commander Linton sank nearly 100,000 tons of enemy shipping. This included a cruiser, a destroyer, and a U-boat, as well as 28 other ships. In his last year, ‘Tubby’ Linton spent 254 days at sea, submerged for nearly half that time. TURBULENT was hunted on 13 different occasions, surviving more than 250 depth charges. However, she disappeared in March 1943, with her entire crew. To this day, the exact nature of her end remains a mystery. Linton was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, not for a specific action but for sustained gallantry.

The Citation for the award of the Victoria Cross tells the story of Tubby Linton’s war, and that of his experienced and gallant crew, better than anyone else could.


LINTON CITATION FROM THE LONDON GAZETTE ADMIRALTY

Whitehall, 25th May, 1943.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS for valour in command of H.M. Submarines to:
Commander John Wallace Linton, D.S.O., D.S.C., Royal Navy.

From the outbreak of War until HMS TURBULENT’s last patrol Commander Linton was constantly in command of submarines, and during that time inflicted great damage on the Enemy. He sank one Cruiser, one Destroyer, one U-boat, twenty-eight Supply Ships, some 100,000 tons in all, and destroyed three trains by gun-fire. In his last year he spent two hundred and fifty-four days at sea, submerged for nearly half the time, and his ship was hunted thirteen times and had two hundred and fifty depth charges, aimed at her.

His many and brilliant successes were due to his constant activity and skill, and the daring which never failed him when there was an Enemy to be attacked.

On one occasion, for instance, in HMS TURBULENT, he sighted a convoy of two Merchantmen and two Destroyers in mist and moonlight. He worked round ahead of the convoy and dived to attack it as it passed through the moon’s rays. On bringing his sights to bear he found himself right ahead of a Destroyer. Yet he held his course till the Destroyer was almost on top of him, and, when his sights came on the convoy, he fired.

His great courage and determination were rewarded. He sank one Merchantman and one Destroyer outright, and set the other Merchantman on fire so that she blew up.


A poignant footnote to this story is that Tubby Linton’s son, William Francis Linton (q.v.), perished in HMS AFFRAY while on Submarine Training Class.

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