Ship Details


River BoatPatrol Vessel



Built In




sunk on 14/2/1942


class="mw-redirect" title="Malayans" href="">Malayans, and six Chinese.[1]
She left Singapore at dawn on 13 February 1942, and was attacked several times from the air, suffering some damage. The next day while passing north of the Bangka Strait, she encountered a convoy of Japanese transport ships accompanied by a squadron of warships launching "Operation L", the invasion of Sumatra. The commander of Li Wo, Temporary Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson RNR, informed the ship's company that he intended to close and attack the enemy.[1]
Li Wo altered course towards the leading transport ship of the convoy at full speed, unfurling her battle ensign, and opening fire with her four-inch gun (for which she had only 13 shells, plus three practice rounds[2]). She scored a number of direct hits on the transport, starting fires aboard, and causing the troops aboard to abandon ship. She then attacked another transport ship with machine gun fire.[1]
Li Wo was then heavily shelled by the light cruiser Yura and the destroyers Fubuki and Asagiri.[1] Out of ammunition and now sinking, she rammed the first enemy transport, which later sank, before finally sinking herself. Of the 84 crew, only 7 survived to be taken prisoner.[
Lieutenant Wilkinson, the captain, posthumously received the Victoria Cross, while his first officer Temporary Sub-Lieutenant Ronald George Gladstone Stanton RNR was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal was awarded to Acting Petty Officer Arthur William Thompson, and the Distinguished Service Medal to Leading Seaman Victor Spencer and Able Seaman Albert Spendlove. There were also six Mentions in Despatches, three of them posthumous.[3 (accessed on 21/3/2018)



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