b. 28/06/1911 Calcutta, India. d. 14/04/1942 Mediterranean Sea.
He was born in Kolkata, India to William Lumb Wanklyn and Marjorie Wanklyn; he was married to Elspeth. Wanklyn joined the Royal Navy in 1925, trained at Dartmouth Naval College, and was assigned as a midshipman in 1930 to the battleship HMS Marlborough, part of the Third Battle Squadron; and the following year to the battlecruiser HMS Renown. After attending promotion courses in 1932 he joined the navy's submarine arm. From August 1933 he served in the submarine HMS Oberon which was part of the Mediterranean Fleet, but in October 1934 transferred to HMS L56 based with the rest of the 6th Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth. In 1936 he was promoted to First Lieutenant (i.e. second in command) of the boat. In January 1937 he moved to HMS Shark. He became second in command of HMS Otway, part of the 5th Submarine Flotilla in August 1939 but was shortly afterwards promoted to be commander of HMS H32. He was given command of HMS Upholder, which was then under construction, in August 1940.
As a 29 year-old Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, he was awarded the VC for his "utmost courage" on 24 May 1941 south of Sicily.
On the evening of the 24th of May, 1941, while on patrol off the coast of Sicily, Lieutenant-Commander Wanklyn, in command of His Majesty's Submarine Upholder, sighted a south-bound enemy troop-convoy, strongly escorted by Destroyers.The failing light was such that observation by periscope could not be relied on but a surface attack would have been easily seen. Upholder's listening gear was out of action. In spite of these severe handicaps Lieutenant-Commander Wanklyn decided to press home his attack at short range. He quickly steered his craft into a favourable position and closed in so as to make sure of his target. By this time the whereabouts of the escorting Destroyers could not be made out. Lieutenant-Commander Wanklyn, while fully aware of the risk of being rammed by one of the escort, continued to press on towards the enemy troop-ships. As he was about to fire, one of the enemy Destroyers suddenly appeared out of the darkness at high speed, and he only just avoided being rammed. As soon as he was clear, he brought his periscope sights on and fired torpedoes, which sank a large troop-ship. The enemy Destroyers at once made a strong counterattack and during the next twenty minutes dropped thirty-seven depth-charges near Upholder.The failure of his listening devices made it much harder for him to get away, but with the greatest courage, coolness and skill he brought Upholder clear of the enemy and safe back to harbour. Before this outstanding attack, and since being appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Lieutenant-Commander Wariklyn had torpedoed a tanker and a merchant vessel. He has continued to show the utmost bravery in the presence of the enemy. He has carried out his attacks on enemy vessels with skill and relentless determination, and has also sunk one Destroyer, one U-boat, two troop-transports of 19,500 tons each, one tanker and three supply ships. He has besides probably destroyed by torpedoes one Cruiser and one Destroyer, and possibly hit another Cruiser.
Wanklyn was killed along with his crew when Upholder was lost on her 25th patrol, becoming overdue on 14 April 1942.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: BODY LOST. ON PANEL 61 COL 3 OF PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL.
Portsmouth Naval Memorial
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Malcolm Wanklyn's painting in the Royal Submarine Museum, Gosport
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Memorial to Wanklyn in Meigle, Strathmore, Scotland
The commemorative plaque and its programme from the unveiling in Portpatrick, Scotland on 3rd June 2017 (Steve Lee)