Michael Willmott DSO, RN

Born   1909London, England
Died  Sep 1942(33)HMS Talisman (N 78)


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Ranks

16 Jul 1932 S.Lt.
11 Aug 1933 Lt.
11 Aug 1941 Lt.Cdr.

Decorations

12 May 1942 DSO

Warship Commands listed for Michael Willmott, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS H 50 (N 50)Lt.Submarine11 Nov 19401 Mar 1941
HMS Talisman (N 78)Lt.Submarine5 Mar 194118 Sep 1942

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Submarine HMS H 50 (N 50)


28 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area with HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A.E. Johnston, RN). (1)

29 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed Rothesay for Holyhead. She was escorted by HMS Virginia (Cdr.(Retd.) S.H.S. Moxley, RN). (1)

30 Nov 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Holyhead. (1)

3 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with MA/SB 6. Upon completion of these exercises HMS H 50 conducted independent exercises before returning to Holyhead. (2)

12 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN). (2)

13 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN) and HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN). (2)

17 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Aberdeen (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, RN). (2)

18 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN). (2)

20 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN) and another vessel [unable to read the name in the log of HMS H 50]. (2)

29 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Scarborough (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, RN) and HMS Candytuft (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR). (2)

31 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Huddersfield Town (Skr. R. Armstrong, RNR). (2)

2 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Richard Crofts (T/Skr. R.H. Maulkinson, RNR). (3)

3 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN). (3)

4 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and another vessel [unable to read the name in the log of HMS H 50]. (3)

5 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Aberdeen (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, RN) and another vessel [unable to read the name in the log of HMS H 50]. (3)

6 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS York City (Skr. W. Tucker, RNR). (3)

8 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Vanquisher. (3)

9 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Vanquisher and HMS Derby County (Skr. W.J.P. Soloman, RNR). (3)

14 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) is docked at Holyhead. (3)

19 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) is undocked. (3)

22 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed Holyhead for Rothesay. She was escorted by HMS Virginia (Cdr.(Retd.) S.H.S. Moxley, RN). (3)

23 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Rothesay. (3)

26 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) shifted from Rothesay to Campbeltown. (3)

27 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Carina (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.C.G. Jolly, RN) and HMS Bedlington (Skr. J.H.D. Dansie, RNR). (3)

29 Jan 1941
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Carina (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.C.G. Jolly, RN) and HMS Spaniel (Skr. C. Coultas, DSC, RNR). (3)

30 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Carina (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.C.G. Jolly, RN) and HMS Spaniel (Skr. C. Coultas, DSC, RNR). (3)

31 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Tuscarora (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) N.T.B. Holt, RN) and HMS Spaniel (Skr. C. Coultas, DSC, RNR). (3)

2 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Tuscarora (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) N.T.B. Holt, RN) and HMS Bedlington (Skr. J.H.D. Dansie, RNR). (4)

3 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Bedlington (Skr. J.H.D. Dansie, RNR) and HMS Spaniel (Skr. C. Coultas, DSC, RNR). (4)

4 Feb 1941
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Tuscarora (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) N.T.B. Holt, RN) and HMS Lady Sharazad (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) D.S. Hore-Lacy, RN). (4)

6 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Bedlington (Skr. J.H.D. Dansie, RNR) and HMS Boarhound (Skr. S.G. Jinks, RNR). (4)

7 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Boarhound (Skr. S.G. Jinks, RNR). (4)

8 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) shifted from Campbeltown to Rothesay. (4)

11 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted torpedo firing trials / exercises in the Clyde area. (4)

12 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area with HrMs Z 8 (Lt.Cdr. P.A. de Boer, RNN). (4)

15 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed Rothesay for Tobermory. She was escorted by HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR). (4)

16 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Tobermory. (4)

17 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises off Tobermory with HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) and HMS Abelia (T/Lt. F. Ardern, RNR). (4)

18 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises off Tobermory with HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) and HMS Abelia (T/Lt. F. Ardern, RNR). (4)

20 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises off Tobermory with HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) and HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR). (4)

21 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) shifted from Tobermory to Oban and back. (4)

22 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises off Tobermory with HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR) and another vessel [unable to read the name in the log of HMS H 50]. (4)

23 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises off Tobermory with HMS Bretwalda (Skr. J. Windram, RNR) and another vessl [unable to read the name in the log of HMS H 50]. (4)

26 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted exercises off Tobermory with HMS Bretwalda (Skr. J. Windram, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR). (4)

28 Feb 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) shifted from Tobermory to Oban. (4)

1 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS H 50 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, RN) proceeded from Oban to Tobermory. (5)


Submarine HMS Talisman (N 78)


6 Mar 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) and HMS Torbay (Lt.Cdr. A.C.C. Miers, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Halifax, Canada. They were escorted out by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN) until 2034/7 when they parted company in position 57°57'N, 10°59'W.

En-route she was ordered to several patrol positions to hunt the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau who are operating against Allied sipping in the North-Atlantic.

No map of this passage can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (6)

12 Mar 1941 (position 54.02, -34.30)
At 1937 hours, in mid-Atlantic, HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) sights two warships in position 54°02'N, 34°30'W. As the warships are thought to be the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Lt. Willmott dived and started an attack but the warships were soon recognised as British. They were in fact HMS Rodney Capt. Sir F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN). Lt. Willmott made a practice attack. At 2022 hours Talisman surfaced and identified herself. (6)

26 Mar 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Halifax, Canada. In the early morning hours she was to rendez-vouz of the Sambro light vessel with the Canadian armed yacht HMCS Otter (T/Lt. D.S. Mossman, RCNR). Talisman arrived at the rendez-vouz in thick fog, when the fog lifted HMCS Otter was seen to be on fire. Talisman closed and found her abandoned. 4 survivors out of 9 that were on a raft were rescued, the other 5 unfortunately drowned. (6)

10 Apr 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Halifax for convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. She is to escort convoy SC-28 for part of the journey to the U.K.

No map of this convoy escort mission can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (6)

19 Apr 1941 (position 53.34, -38.28)
At 1718 hours (time zone +3) HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) parted company with convoy SC-28 in position 53°34'N, 38°28'W and set course back towards Halifax. (6)

26 Apr 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived back at Halifax. (6)

19 May 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Halifax for convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. She is to escort convoy SC-32 for part of the journey to the U.K.

No map of this convoy escort mission can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (6)

30 May 1941
At 2000 hours (time zone +1) HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) parted company with convoy SC-32 in position 47°35'N, 32°58'W and set course back towards Halifax. On the way back she was ordered through several positions to search for the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. (6)

9 Jun 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived back at Halifax. (6)

30 Jun 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Halifax for St. John's. (7)

2 Jul 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at St. John's. (7)

4 Jul 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed from St. John's for Gibraltar. Talisman is to join the 1st submarine flotilla at Alexandria.

No map of this passage can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (8)

7 Jul 1941
After midnight HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) was informed that the British merchant City of Auckland was being shelled by a U-boat (U-109) and she was ordered to assist her. She reached the position (33°14'N, 31°21'W) on 10 July but did not see anything except a baulk of timber. In fact the vessel had managed to make her escape. (8)

17 Jul 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. At Gibraltar Talisman is docked.

It is currently not known to us when she was undocked. (8)

29 Jul 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Gibraltar for Malta. Before departing A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN).

No map of this passage can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (9)

3 Aug 1941 (position 37.55, 12.00)
At 0445 hrs, South-West of Marittimo near position 37°55'N, 12°00'E, HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) sighted four destroyers of the Navigatori class on course 290°, 20 knots. Six tubes were readied but the submarine could not close to less than 6,200 yds and the attack was aborted. These were most likely the torpedo-boats Cigno, Centauro, Clio and Calliope; they had sailed a few hours before from Trapani to search for an enemy force. (9)

5 Aug 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Malta. (9)

8 Aug 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Malta for Alexandria. Before departing exercises were carried out with HMS Jade (Boatswain W.J.H. Fellows, RN).

No map of this passage can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (9)

14 Aug 1941 (position 32.41, 27.35)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) attacks a submarine with torpedoes about 140 nautical miles north-west of Alexandria in position 32°41'N, 27°35'E. All torpedoes fired fortunately missed their target as the submarine attacked later turned out to be HMS Otus (Lt. R.M. Favell, RN).

(All times are zone -2)
1040 hours - In position 32°19'N, 27°51'E heard HE. Nothing in sight. Commenced attack on a submerged submarine.

After trailing the contact for a while three torpedoes were fired at 1253 hours. The course and speed of the submerged submarine were by now well known. No explosions occurred so the submarine must have been deep. Talisman continued to shadow the submarine until it surfaced.

1927 hours - The target surfaced.

1932 hours - Talisman surfaced and closed with gun crews at the ready.

2030 hours - Contact was lost.

2046 hours - The submarine was sighted again. While closing Talisman was sighted by the other submarine and challenged at a range of about 1000 yards by the Allied Private Signal. The reply was made and course was resumed towards Alexandria. The identity of the other submarine was not established until after arrival at Alexandria when it was learnt that it was HMS Otus.

Talisman was not aware that Otus was on passage from Alexandria to Malta. This was known so Otus was routed way to the North of the route of Talisman. An investigation showed that Talisman was way out of position. (9)

15 Aug 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (9)

21 Aug 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 8th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Sirte and off Benghazi.

No map of this patrol can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (9)

23 Aug 1941 (position 33.35, 24.23)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) attacked a merchant vessel with three torpedoes about 80 nautical miles North-North-East of Tobruk, Libya. No hits were obtained. Talisman had to go deep because one of the torpedoes had a gyro failure.

(All times are zone -3)
1358 hours - While proceeding at periscope depth in position 33°35'N, 24°23'E sighted a merchant vessel of about 2500 tons bearing 337°, range 4.5 nautical miles. Enemy course was 157°, speed 12 knots. Started attack. No escort was seen.

1425 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1000 yards.

1427 hours - One of the torpedoes passed Talisman due to a gyro failure. Went deep with all despatch.

1429 hours - The torpedo went overhead.

1440 hours - Went to periscope depth. Saw the target zig-zagging on a North-Easterly course. Range was now 3000 yards.

According to Italian sources this was the German Bellona (1297 GRT, built 1929) on her way from Suda to Bardia, she was unescorted as the Italian torpedo boat Sagittario had turned back to Suda a few hours before.` (9)

26 Aug 1941
At 0530 hours (time zone -3) HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) a major defect is discovered on the port engine. This engine was out of action for the remainder of the patrol unless in an emergency. (9)

30 Aug 1941 (position 32.16, 20.06)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) damaged two motor sailing vessels with gunfire about 5 nautical miles north of Benghazi, Libya. (It is possible that one of these was sunk).

(All times are zone -3)
1129 hours - Sighted two motor sailing vessels approaching on a course of 040°. Started attack. Position was 32°16'N, 20°06'E.

1154 hours - Surfaced to engage with the 4" gun and with the Lewis machine gun. Range was 1000 yards.

1203 hours - One of the sailing vessels was seen to be hit forward and aft. It was abandoned and low in the water. The other had increased the range and was proceeding inshore faster than Talisman could steam on one engine and motor trimmed down. She had been hit forward once. This sailing vessel opened fire with a light automatic machine gun. Talisman was hit but no casualties were sustained. Dived and retired seawards. 39 Rounds of 4" were fired in this action.

According to Italian sources these were actually the two auxiliary minesweepers R 86 / San Michele (48 GRT, built 1939) and DM 3 / Tenacemente (81 GRT). One Italian rating was killed and two wounded and the two vessels fled to Benghazi. (9)

7 Sep 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (9)

20 Sep 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean. Before proceeding on patrol exercises were performed together with HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN).

No map of this patrol can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (9)

1 Oct 1941 (position 37.35, 23.57)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) attacks an Italian convoy with torpedoes West of the Zea Channel missing the German merchant Arkadia (1756 GRT, built 1927) and the Italian Lauretta (938 GRT, built 1901). Following this attack Talisman was attacked by the escorting Italian torpedo boat Libra with 24 depth-charges. Although severely shaken Talisman was only slightly damaged.

(All times are zone -2)
0854 hours - Near position 37°35'N, 23°57'E sighted masts of a convoy. Brought six torpedo tubes to the ready. Three small one funnel A/S ships with the appearance similar to tugs were disposed a few miles ahead and on either bow. One destroyer or torpedo boat was astern of this A/S screen and zig-zagging violently ahead of the main target, a merchant vessel of about 4000 tons with a grey hull, buff upper works, black masts and funnel. Two floatplanes were also patrolling in the area. Started attack.

1000 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 2500 yards. Went to 210 feet. A loud explosion was heard after 2 minutes and 30 seconds. A possible hit was claimed.

1004 hours - Talisman was counter attacked for three quarters of an hour. In all 37 depth charges were dropped. Some were quite close but no damage was caused.

1155 hours - Came to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. (9)

3 Oct 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) destroys the wreck of the German merchant Yalova (3751 GRT, built 1920) that is grounded at Agios Giorgios Island.

The Yalova was torpedoed and damaged by HMS Tetrarch (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Greenway, RN) on 28 September 1941. She was run aground to prevent her from sinking.

(All times are zone -2)
2 October 1941
1300 hours - Sighted a grounded merchant vessel beached on the West side of St. Giorgio Island near position 37°28.5'N, 23°55'E. One Italian armed caique was patrolling in the area.

1532 hours - Another caique was seen to secure alongside the beached vessel.

1600 hours - The caique was seen to cast off and set course towards Piraeus. Frequent air patrol was also observed in the area. Lt.Cdr. Willmott decided to wait till tomorrow to attack and destroy the ship as he hoped salvage vessels would be alongside and that these could also be destroyed in the torpedo explosion.

3 October 1941
1045 hours - Completed reconnaissance of the beached ship. One sailing vessel was patrolling 1 nautical mile to the South-West. Two steam vessels were seen alongside the beached ship. They must have arrived during the night. Lt.Cdr. Willmott decided to fire three torpedoes in the attack.

1207 hours - Fired the first torpedo. This torpedo had a gyro failure and exploded on the shore. The smallest of the salvage vessels immediately slipped and went full astern.

1211 hours - Fired the second torpedo. This one was seen to run towards the target before Talisman lost trim. The ship was later seen to have sunk on an even keel with the upper deck nearly awash.

1215 hours - Counter attacked with bombs and depth charges. Went deep. (9)

4 Oct 1941 (position 37.44, 24.23)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) torpedoed and sank the Vichy-French passenger ship Theophile Gautier (8194 GRT, built 1926) north-east of Kea Island, Greece in position 37°44'N, 24°23'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1754 hours - In position 37°48'N, 24°29'E sighted a convoy passing through the Doro Channel towards the Zea Channel. One large two funnel ship and one small tanker or coaster. Escort was provided by three destroyers / torpedo boats. No aircraft were seen. Commenced attack on the two funnel ship of about 9000 tons.

1835 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1000 yards. Went deep to 210 feet. One hit was heard. The HE of the target ceased immediately.

1840 hours - Talisman was counter attacked for 1.5 hours. 29 Depth charges were dropped but these caused no damage.

Theophile Gautier was in convoy with the Italian tanker Torcello (3336 GRT, built 1892). They were escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Monzambano, Calatafimi and Aldebaran. (9)

7 Oct 1941 (position 35.39, 24.14)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) attacked the German merchants Salzburg (1742 GRT, built 1921) and Trapani (1855 GRT, built 1926) with torpedoes about 10 nautical miles north of Suda Bay, Crete, Greece in position 35°39N, 24°14'E. All torpedoes fired missed their targets. Trapani reported being only just missed.

(All times are zone -2)
1035 hours - Sighted a convoy, distance 9 nautical miles.

1110 hours - In position 34°45'N, 24°08'E identified the convoy as being two Navigatori class destroyers and two merchant ships of 2500 and 3000 tons. Two floatplanes were patrolling overhead. Started attack.

1158 hours - Fired one torpedo at the smaller target. Range was 2500 yards.

1159 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the larger target. Range was 3000 yards. Went deep to 210 feet.

1202 hours - Heard one explosion.

1209 hours - Counter attacked for 35 minutes. No damage was caused.

The convoy attacked was made up of the two merchants above. Escort was provided by the Italian destroyer Quintino Sella and the Italian torpedo boat Castelfidardo. They were en-route from Suda Bay to Pireaus. (9)

12 Oct 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (9)

20 Oct 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 10th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She is to perform a special operation.

No map of this patrol can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (9)

24 Oct 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) conducts her special operation. A team of 4 is landed to perform a reconnaissance of a landing beach near Ras-el-Hilal that was intended to be used for a later special operation.

(All times are zone -2)
0526 hours - Dived and closed Ras-el-Hilal for periscope observation.

0824 hours - Completed reconnaissance.

0830 hours - Bottomed at 145 feet in position 32°54.5'N. 22°11.5'E.

2028 hours - Surfaced.

2110 hours - Increased buoyancy to get out the folbots.

2115 hours - Trimmed down.

2210 hours - The party of four left Talisman in two folbots. The gun crews of Talisman were on deck to cover them in case they had to return. After 35 minutes it was considered that a successful landing had been made.

When Talisman left the area the party was seen to proceed inshore for half a mile. They were not seen afterwards. Between 0300 and 0400 hours on the 25th sounds were heard that were thought to be gunshots. (9)

29 Oct 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (9)

10 Nov 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott) departed from Alexandria with orders to perform a special mission. (This is the 4th Mediterranean War Patrol of HMS Talisman)

The nature of the special mission was to land party of commando troops was to be landed behind enemy lines to kill the commander of the German Africa corps. HMS Torbay also participated in this operation called 'Flipper'. For more information on Operation Flipper see this article on Wikipedia.

No map of this patrol can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period.

14 Nov 1941
On the night of 14/15 November commandos (No.11 Scottish Commando) from Talisman were landed some 250 miles behind enemy lines.

Talisman grounded during the attempt and only one boatload of commandos was able to land. Talisman had to retire from the area. Some of the commandos that were swept into the water by ground waves when Talisman grounded were recovered as the current had swept them out to sea.

20 Nov 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (4th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria.

27 Nov 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Alexandria for her 12th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean). She is to patrol off the Western entrance to the Aegean (Kythera area). During her patrol she is also diverted to the West coast of Greece.

No map of this patrol can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (9)

1 Dec 1941
At 1920 hours (zone -2 or -3) HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) was ordered to a position South-West of Crete (34°50'N, 22°56'E) to search for survivors of a downed British aircraft. Talisman reached the position at 0217/2. A signal grenade was fired but no answering flare was seen. The search was abandoned at 0330/2. (9)

5 Dec 1941 (position 36.15, 22.45)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) attacks German U-boat U-371 West of Kythera, Greece. In all seven torpedoes were fired but none hit the target.

(All times either zone -2 or -3)
0256 hours - In position 36°15'N, 22°45'E sighted a U-boat to the North. Distance about 1500 yards. Course of the target was 050°. Started attack.

0301 hours - Fired five torpedoes from 1000 yards. All missed.

0306 hours - Fired a sixth torpedo, missed again.

0308 hours - Fired a seventh torpedo, missed yet again.

0310 hours - An explosion occurred, must be one of the torpedoes hitting land. The U-boat turned stern on she was lost out of sight shortly afterwards. (9)

8 Dec 1941 (position 38.00, 20.28)
About 10 nautical miles South of Argostoli, Greece, HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) fired three torpedoes at the Italian torpedo boat Orione, carrying gasoline from Brindisi to Argostoli, that they thought was an enemy submarine. Talisman also engaged with gunfire before the mistake was realised and she crash dived. Talisman was depth charged but only minor damage was caused.

(All times are zone -2 or -3)
2154 hours - In position 38°00'N, 20°28'E sighted a darkened ship thought to be a submarine.

2157 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 400 yards. A fourth torpedo was intended but the enemy was full astern at once so fire was withheld, the torpedoes fired missed ahead and / or ran under. Engaged with the 4", Bren and Lewis guns from point blank range.

2200 hours - The darkened ship endeavoured to ram, on missing Talismans stern by 50 yards it was seen to be a destroyer or torpedo boat. Crash dived.

2205 to 2315 hours - Counter attacked with 44 depth charges. Some lights were broken but no further damage was inflicted.

2351 hours - Came to periscope depth, nothing in sight so surfaced. (9)

11 Dec 1941 (position 36.23, 20.33)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Calitea (4013 GRT, built 1933) about 60 nautical miles west-south-west of Schiza island, Greece in position 36°23'N, 20°33'E.

(All times are zone -2 or -3)
1615 hours - In position 36°33'N, 20°34'E heard HE, sighted destroyer and merchant vessel bearing Green 40 distance about 6600 yards. Enemy course 090°.

1622 hours - Fired four torpedoes at the merchant vessel of 15000 tons. The silhouette was similar to Vulcania. Range on firing was 2300 yards. A fifth torpedo was fired in a misunderstanding.

1624 hours - Obtained four hits. Talisman was briefly hunted after this attack. The escort (Italian destroyer Freccia) dropped 15 depth charges before picking up the survivors. (9)

14 Dec 1941
While on passage back to Alexandria, South of Crete, HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) attacks the Italian submarine Dagabur with gunfire South of Crete. A sinking was claimed but the Italian submarine received only minor damage.

All times are zone -2 or -3)
1952 hours - In position 34°05'N, 25°39'E sighted a dark object thought to be a submarine bearing 205°. Distance 800 yards.

1955 hours - Two torpedoes were heard passing Talisman by ratings in the fore ended (The enemy had indeed fired two torpedoes mistaking Talisman for a cruiser).

1956 hours - Talisman opened fire with the 4" gun. The second round hit the conning tower of the enemy about three feet above the casing as the enemy was seen to be diving at a range of about 100 yards.

1957 hours - As Talisman was passing the diving enemy it was seen that her hatches were open, she was thought to be diving towards her doom and a sinking was claimed.

Italian sources however state that the target (Dagabur) received only minor damage to her conning tower. (9)

17 Dec 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (5th in the Mediterranean) at Alexandria. (9)

29 Dec 1941
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Alexandria for Malta carrying passengers and kerosene.

She is to proceed back to the U.K. for a refit as the crack in the port engine was getting worse and could not be repaired, actually Talisman was only due to refit in the U.K. around April 1942.

No map of this passage can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (7)

5 Jan 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Malta. (7)

7 Jan 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Malta for Gibraltar. (7)

18 Jan 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (7)

21 Jan 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) departed from Gibraltar for the U.K. (6)

30 Jan 1942
At 0825 hours, HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN), made rendes-vous with her escort, HMS Man o' War (T/Lt. G.L. Coles, RNVR). Both then proceeded north through he Irish Sea to Holy Loch. (6)

1 Feb 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, RN) arrived at Holy Loch.

Talisman was taken in hand for refit at Troon on 12 February. (6)

5 Jul 1942
With her refit completed, HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN), departed Troon for Holy Loch. (10)

6 Jul 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN) conducted post repair trials in the Clyde area. During these trials the after hydroplanes failed to function properly and sh returned to Troon to make good the defect. (10)

10 Jul 1942
With the defect to her after hydroplanes repairs, HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN), arrived at Holy Loch to continue her trial and exercise programme. (10)

3 Aug 1942
With her refit and work-up period completed, HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN), departed from Holy Loch for Gibraltar. She is to proceed to Beirut to re-join the 1st submarine Flotilla.

Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS P 212 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN). They were escorted by they were escorted by HMS White Bear (Cdr.(Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN).

No map of this passage can be displayed as there are no logs available for HMS Talisman for this period. (6)

9 Aug 1942 (position 44.20, -12.11)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN) is bombed by RAAF Sunderland aircraft E/461 (T9114) (P/O C.W. Steley) in the Bay of Biscay in position 44°20'N, 12°11'W. Four depth charges exploded very close causing considerable damage.

(All times are zone -1)
1354 hours - Surfaced in position 44°16'N, 12°11'W to intercept a U-boat in position 25°24'N, 10°56'W, enemy course 265°, speed 10 knots. This U-boat was sighted by aircraft. A signal was sent to Talisman by radio.

1411 hours - Sighted, and dived for, a Sunderland aircraft flying on a Southerly course, distance about 6 nautical miles.

1413 hours - Talisman broke surface and the Sunderland was observed to be attacking.

1414 hours - Straddled by a pattern of four depth charges. Talisman was at 47 feet at the moment the depth charges exploded. Severe damage was caused. The attempt to intercept the U-boat was abandoned and Talisman resumed course towards Gibraltar.

Talisman was in an area where she was 'protected' by bombing restrictions for submerged submarines. By surfacing to intercept the reported U-boat Lt.Cdr. Willmott took some risk that if he was sighted by aircraft he could be bombed, and that was just what happened. (6)

13 Aug 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (6)

19 Aug 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN) is docked for repairs at Gibraltar.

It is currently not known to us when she was undocked. (7)

10 Sep 1942
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN) departed from Gibraltar for Malta. (7)

14 Sep 1942 (position 37.48, 6.00)
HMS Talisman (Lt.Cdr. M. Willmott, DSO, RN) reports sighting a U-boat in position 37°48'N, 06°00'E. Enemy course 250°, speed 14 knots. This was the last signal received from HMS Talisman. She failed to arrive at Malta on the 18th and was probably mined in the Sicilian Channel.

The submarine sighted by Talisman was most likely the Italian Alabastro. On the basis of this signal a Gibraltar-based Sunderland of 202 squadron was sent and caught the Italian submarine on the surface and sank her, there were no survivors. (11)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16334
  2. ADM 173/16335
  3. ADM 173/16789
  4. ADM 173/16790
  5. ADM 173/16791
  6. ADM 199/1849
  7. ADM 199/2572
  8. ADM 199/1119
  9. ADM 199/1151
  10. ADM 199/1908
  11. ADM 199/1925

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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