Historik Orders, Ltd.

British Campaign Medals and Orders Singles and Groups, Russian Badges and Medal Gallery

SUBMARINE / BRITISH NAVY SPECIAL OPERATIONS

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; without victory, there is no survival.
Winston Churchill
The outstanding Second War D.S.M. group of five awarded to Stoker Petty Officer L. W. Wright, H.M. Submarine "Seadog" who distinguished himself during War Patrols in Norwegian Waters which resulted in two enemy Merchantmen and an enemy submarine being attacked: he also took part in two Special Operations in Norwegian waters.

D.S.M. G.VI.R. (Sto. P.O. L. W. Wright P/KX.82689); 1939-45 star; Atlantic star; Burma star; War medal EF
Together the boxes of issue for the D.S.M. and campaign awards; original cloth patches; cap tally; Buckingham Palace Investiture Pass; Naval Identity Card; and a quantity of original paperwork including his service papers, educational certificates, discharge papers, and letters of congratulation regarding the award of the D.S.M.

D.S.M. London Gazette 29 Feb 1944. The official recommendation states: "For courage, zeal, and devotion to duty in H.M. Submarine Seadog in War Patrols in Norwegian Waters in the course of which an enemy Merchantman was destroyed and two special Operations and an attack on an Enemy Submarine were carried out."

Leonard William Wright was from Battersea, London, and joined the Navy in 1933. He transferred into the Submarine Service in 1935 and remained in submarines until his discharge in 1945.

Distinguished Service Medal (DSM)Founded by King George V in October 1914 as a junior award to the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for acts of gallantry by Petty Officers and men of the Royal Navy and NCO's and men of the Royal Marines. It may also be awarded to men of equivalent rank in the other two services and the Merchant Navy, when serving afloat. A 2nd award bar is also available

HMS Seadog – Operations in the Arctic

HMS Seadog participated in operations in the Arctic in the summer of 1943. She arrived July 2nd at Barentsburg leaving Lerwick a few days earlier. Having embarked the Military Governor and a local she proceeded to Signehamn where the Norwegians had eliminated a small German station. The submarine returned to Barentsburg with the Norwegians after a few hours. The Norwegians destroyed all facilities for the Germans and also brought back valuable technical gear.

In September HMS Seadog once more sailed for Svalbard as part of a rescue operation after the Tirpitz/Scharnhrst attack in earlier that month. She reached Camp Morton on 24th at 0300 and arrived at Sveagruva at 1200. Having unloaded their supplies and a few “passengers” HMS Seadog left for Britain arriving safely at Lerwick on October 2nd.




Served on H.M.S. Hood, H.M. Submarine's Dolphine, Swordfish, Tuna, Seawolf, Seadog and back to Dolphin.
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Map over Norway.



July 1943:

Send from Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands (15.9.) to Barentsburg (arrived 24.9.) to supply the Norwegian garrison with medical supply and a doctor - before the arrival of the Locomotive supply expedition. Returned same day and was back in Lerwick on 2.10.

Sept. 1943:

Sailed from Lerwick, Shetland Islands to Barentsburg (Arrived 2.7.) and to Signehamn.
Destroyed the German station (and loaded German supply and equipments.
Returned the Norwegian troops to Barentsburg and sailed back to Lerwick.
A little known and recognized Norwegian naval contribution during World War II
A quick over-view:

The "Shetland Bus's" activity is very well known from books, films, and the restoration of "Hitra". Operations of the Norwegian Navy's fishing boat division from the Peterhead Intelligence Base (north of Aberdeen) are, however, very little known.

The "Shetland Bus's" main task was transport of instructors, weapons, sabotage material, etc. to the Norwegian underground forces. The operations being directed by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in cooperation with the Norwegian authorities in London.

The intelligence base at Peterhead was used only for transportation of intelligence agents to and from Norway. The agents' main task was naval intelligence sent by radio transmitters. These Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), operations were carried out under extra security. It was not desirable to mix the SOE and SIS operations. This was main reason for establishing the Peterhead base.

Both the Shetlands base and the Peterhead base used Norwegian refugee fishing vessels for transportation. These were recruited by the Norwegian Naval Headquarters in London, carried the naval flag, and had a naval crew. In some instances, SIS expeditions were carried out with the help of Catalina planes from the Navy's air force, Norwegian MTB's, or allied submarines.

The following is a brief outline of the background of SIS operations from Peterhead, the organization, and a few examples of SIS expeditions along the Norwegian coast.

The Beginning

The Royal Navy's requirement for naval intelligence in Norwegian waters was understood by Norwegian officers as well as the British. After the German occupation of Norway and the re-establishment of the Norwegian Naval Headquarters in London in June, 1940, a mutual trust and cooperation was quickly established with the Naval Intelligence Department in the Admiralty and the Scandinavian Section in SIS. The British submarine HMS \ "Sea Wolf" sailed for the coast of Norway the same month. Two Norwegian naval officers –Captain E. C. Danielsen and Lieutenant H. Voltersvik – were on board. They were secretly set ashore in the Farsund area. With radio transmitters and codes, they went to Oslo where they made contact with Commander Gabriel Smith. Smith had been serving on the Admiral's staff when the Germans invaded Norway. When the war in Norway was over Danielsen (before himself fleeing to England) had ordered Smith to organize intelligence work in occupied Norway, - primarily to gather information about German Naval activities in Norwegian waters. Danielsen and Voltersvik were picked up by the HMS "Sea Wolf" after a week and returned to England.

Smith and his assistant, Lyder Larsen, quickly organized naval intelligence operations along the coast using naval officers as primary contacts. Intelligence reports were transmitted to London by radio and this service was in full operation from the beginning of July and continued until March, 1941, when it was "blown up" by GESTAPO. Smith managed to escape the GESTAPO and flee to England. London Cooperation Problems After his arrival in England, Smith worked together with the head of Scandinavian Section in SIS and Naval Intelligence Department (NID) – now in the capacity of leader of "The Royal Norwegian Navy's Secret Intelligence Service." Through its foresight in planning and handling of the naval intelligence's areas in close cooperation with SIS and NID, the Navy made a strong contribution to the impressive results already achieved. The Navy, by arrangement with the Royal Navy and SIS, had control over a number of Norwegian fishing vessels stationed at Peterhead. The problem arose when the government established its own intelligence office in the Defense Department (DD/ I). The government decided that all contact with SIS was to go through this office. The head of Scandinavian Section in SIS preferred to continue working with the Norwegian Naval Headquarters and Commander Gabriel Smith. This was well-established, effective, and gave good results. This was however stopped by the head of DD/ I. The Navy was outmaneuvered with help of the Defense Minister and the Chief of the Armed Forces. The Navy's secret leader – Commander Gabriel Smith – was later ordered to another service A conflict of competency between the head of DD/ I and the Navy also arose concerning the Peterhead base. This was similar to what had earlier been the situation with the school for agents. The Navy pointed out that the head of DD/ I had nothing to do with the naval transportation system and that he should not involve himself unnecessarily in the recruiting of personnel and other affairs of the base. Nothing resulted from the strenuous efforts of the head of DD/ I to steal control over the fishing boats. Perhaps the Norwegian government in London felt that the conflict was going too far. In the summer of 1942 it was therefore finally decided that the fishing boats would continue under administrative and operative control of the Navy. It is worth nothing that the head of Scandinavian Section in SIS – Commander Newill – was not in agreement with the new system for cooperation with the Norwegian authorities. He was relieved of his post in SIS and ordered to a new position as head of the Peterhead intelligence base. This position was later taken over by a Norwegian naval officer, Lieutenant M. Hellesund. The following quotation from Bjørn Rørholt's and Bjarne Thorsen's book, "The Invisible Soldiers," indicates the uneasiness that arose because of the reorganization: "Many wondered why two such remarkable naval men like Smith and Newill were pushed out, and then asked themselves what had been achieved if Smith had been the leader. Some were sure it had been better, but most understood that the British could not relinquish control of such special operations. ---" The men who Smith and Newill had selected and trained as intelligence agents (mostly seamen), formed actually the basis for manning all the intelligence stations along the Norwegian coast throughout the war. Most of Gabriel Smith's plans also survived and were to a great extent used by SIS in cooperation with DD/ I. The Peterhead Base The Peterhead base eventually operated eight fishing cutters. Around 60 men served on and off shore, but never so many at the same time. All were eligible for active duty, all were volunteers. The crew came mostly from students at the Norwegian Naval Defense Gunnery Section of the Merchant Marine in Dumbarton, Scotland. There was never a problem with recruiting. There was always a good selection of able seamen familiar with the Norwegian coast among the volunteers. The first expedition from Peterhead left July 1, 1941. After that followed trip after trip until November, 1943. Because of large losses, we know that the Shetlands expeditions with fishing boats had to stop already in March, 1943. Traffic resumed in November/December, 1943, with the submarine chasers "Hessa", "Hitra", and "Vigra". These effective boats eventually took over transportation duties in connection with the SIS stations along the coast of Norway. Expeditions As mentioned earlier, all of the SIS operations were under strict secrecy. This concealment has caused it to be impossible to know the exact number of expeditions from Peterhead. The number is probably between 25 and 30 successful trips. In addition are trips that were not completed due to weather conditions, machinery failure, hostile actions, etc. At least one of the section's boats disappeared without a trace while on a mission. The longest expedition during the war was carried out by the Peterhead cutter "Kvalsund". In 1942, it successfully, in spite of bad weather, reached its destination of Belsvika in Lyfjord at Kvaløya (outside Tromsø). Three attempts had been made previously. With the fourth attempt, the captain (at this time Einar Kristiansen) and his crew managed to set on land the intelligence agent, Einar Johansen, along with his radio equipment and provisions. The return trip of eight days could begin. (Einar Kristiansen is today a retired captain living in Søgne.) It can further be mentioned that the same naval officer also took "Kvalsund" on the very last fishing boat expedition during the war in November, 1943. Kristiansen was at that time a Sub-Lieutenant and served as navigating officer on one of the Norwegian MTB's operating from Lerwich at Shetland. He was requested to take the trip which was very important. He and his crew took "Kvalsund", in violent weather under nerve shattering conditions, from Peterhead to Lurøy and back again. This trip involved vital provisions to SIS reporters in the area. Another dramatic trip with an unfortunate outcome should be mentioned. It was in October, 1941, that M/K "Streif" set ashore an agent with his radio station and other provisions on Skorpa. After taking on board another agent who was going back to England, they set a course for Peterhead. The captain was chief Petty Officer Mads Monsen who already had completed 4-5 trips on the Norwegian coast. However, "Streif" never made it back to Peterhead. The engine failed in gale storm. The cutter was driven by the wind and currents for a week. It finally stranded on the Netherlands' coast near Den Helder. The crew was taken prisoners and spent the remainder of the war as German Prisoners of war – long, hard years. All of the official terms of prisoner-of-war rights were, fortunately, in order. The cutter carried the naval flag, the crew wore uniforms and had military service identification. Their explanation that the boat had been on its way from Scotland to Iceland was also accepted. Another fishing cutter, M/K "Frøya 2", had an unkind fate. It sailed from Peterhead in April, 1942. The captain was Lieutenant Commander Magne Braadland. As often the case, the six-man crew was volunteers from the DGM school in Dumbarton. In addition, were two intelligence agents who were to be put ashore in Troms to establish a radio station in Kåfjord. In the sea off the coast of Trøndelag, the boat was attacked by a German bomber. The defended themselves bravely with their Colt mitrailleuse and Lewis machinegun. It later was revealed under interrogation with the Germans that the plane did not return to its base. In the meantime, "Frøya" was sinking and had to be abandoned. Five men were ordered in the dinghy and set out towards Shetland. They were later rescued by a British destroyer. Before the fishing cutter sank, they quickly constructed a raft on four empty oil drums. Braadland and the three remaining crew tied themselves to this. After 12 days in cold, rough weather, the frostbitten and miserable crew were rescued by a German seaplane. Rough interrogation by the Sicherheitdienst in Trondheim followed. Finally, after more than four months of interrogation and imprisonment in Norway, all four were colleagues from M/K "Streif". The four from "Frøya" were also classified as prisoners-of-war. All the formalities in this connection were in order. In addition, the two agents who were to be put ashore at Kåfjord had been given naval uniforms upon departure. There is no doubt that if this capture had happened six months later all the men would have been shot. That was when Hitler's directive of October 10, 1942, went into effect. This directive specified that all commando soldiers, agents, and saboteurs that were captured were to be turned over to security police and shot with no exceptions. It is known that this directive was the basis for the execution of the crew of MTB "345" at Ulven in July, 1943.
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The B-29 crew bailed out over the Bay of Bengal, where no air-sea rescue submarines were on station. Raw courage and a stroke of luck brought most of them through.

The B-29 Super Fortress was developed primarily for long-range strategic bombing of Japan. Until the Mariana Islands could be retaken, the B-29s were based in India, and strikes against Japan were staged through bases in eastern China. One of the early groups based in India, at Chakulia to the west of Calcutta, was the 40th Bomb Group. It participated in the first strategic strike--against steel plants at Yawata, Japan--on June 15, 1944.

The big bombers also were used frequently against tactical targets in Southeast Asia. On Feb. 26, 1945, one of the 40th's crews was assigned an unescorted photoreconnaissance mission to Singapore, about 1,800 miles away from home base. No survivor of Capt. James Lyons's crew will ever forget that day.





On their flight home from a thus-far uneventful sortie, their B-29 was attacked by an enemy fighter. Copilot Mills Bale, who was at the controls, turned into the bandit, and central fire control gunner Pfc. J. M. Moffit fired continuously but with no results. The CFC system clearly was out of sync. Bad news, because much of the flight home would be in range of enemy fighters.

Shells from the Japanese plane set the nose section afire, seriously wounded bombardier 1st Lt. William Kintis, and knocked out the number two engine. While radio operator Sgt. Joseph Dimock helped extinguish the flames, Captain Lyons pulled the unconscious Kintis out of the flames, burning his hands so badly that when he later removed them from the controls, the skin remained on the wheel.

The enemy fighter struck again, hitting a full auxiliary fuel tank in the rear bomb bay. When the damaged tank was jettisoned, it hit the bomb bay doors and became lodged partially out of the aircraft. Radar operator TSgt. John Topolski and left gunner TSgt. Louis Sandrick went into the open bomb bay with no parachutes and managed to release the tank, but it hit and bent the bomb bay doors so badly they would not close. If it became necessary to abandon the aircraft, ditching was out. They would have to parachute into the water, with a reduced chance of rescue.

Despite the bomber's damaged condition, Captain Lyons thought the B-29 would get them home. They were losing altitude slowly when he noticed a small spot on the leading edge of the wing near the feathered number two engine. The spot gradually expanded. It was a fire in the wing. An hour later, Sandrick, who had been watching the wing, heard an explosion and saw the upper skin of the wing flex. Captain Lyons knew it was time to get out. Their approximate location was reported by another B-29 that was following them, air-sea rescue forces were notified, and, soon after the crew bailed out, a search got under way.

A line had been attached to the rip cord of Bill Kintis's parachute, and the still-unconscious bombardier was dropped out, followed as rapidly as possible by other crew members. Kintis was never seen again, nor were the tailgunner Sgt. J. J. Carney or CFC gunner Moffit. The B-29 exploded while the crew members were still descending in their chutes.

The sea was relatively calm, but swells made it impossible for the men to see each other. By shouting, Lyons, Bale, SSgt. Anthony P. Peleckis, flight engineer Lt. Frank Thorp, and Sandrick found each other in the next few hours and tied themselves together to ride out a long night with an uncertain outcome. The next day, about 20 hours after they bailed out, the five were rescued by an RAF Catalina flying boat.

Soon after the crew had punched out, a 40th Bomb Group B-29 located some of the other men and dropped a raft, which Sergeant Dimock retrieved. Paddling toward their shouts, he picked up navigator Lt. Nathan Teplick and Vernon Lester, but Sergeant Topolski had become separated from the others. His Mae West could barely keep him afloat. Half swimming and half floating, he spent a lonely, terrifying night in the shark-infested water.

By great good fortune, the British submarine HMS Seadog, which was patrolling for enemy shipping, picked up the signal of the B-29 that had been following Lyons's Super Fortress and had reported the location of the crew's bailout. The submarine's captain, Lt. E. A. Hobson, abandoned his anti-shipping mission and navigated toward the coordinates of the B-29's signal, despite the danger of attack by Japanese surface ships.

At midafternoon the next day, Seadog spotted the raft bearing Dimock, Teplick, and Lester. The three persuaded Lieutenant Hobson to continue a hazardous search for other members of their crew. The submarine finally found an exhausted Topolski, who had been in the water for nearly 30 hours and would not have lasted another night. The four men were transferred to an RAF Catalina and flown to Calcutta. It was the same flying boat that had picked up Lyons and those with him, then returned to continue the search.

After recuperating in the hospital, the nine survivors rejoined their group at Tinian, its new base. The 40th BG continued to fly missions against Japan, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations in addition to the one it had been awarded for its part in the initial attack on Yawata. But they never flew another mission quite comparable to their return from Singapore.