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Commander Philip Francis Submariner who sank Axis shipping in the Mediterranean and supervised the surrender of the U-boat fleet in Northern Ireland at the war's end As the captain of the submarine Proteus between September 1941 and August 1942, Philip Francis earned two DSOs during the most critical period of the Mediterranean campaign to sustain Malta and to deny vital supplies to Rommel's army in North Africa. In an announcement in late 1942, the C-in-C, Admiral Sir Henry Harwood, coupled Francis with such other heroic names as Miers, Rimington, Wanklyn and Linton, crediting them with having sunk a million tons of Axis shipping. Of these, Miers and Linton won VCs, but both Linton and Wanklyn were among the many submariners who failed to return from their last patrols, perforce carried out in a sea dominated by enemy air power. Francis, faced with unpalatable choices between diving and being depth-charged or turning and being rammed, instantly decided to press on straight ahead. In the subsequent collision Proteus's port hydroplane opened up several of the Sagittario's compartments like a tin-opener ? each thought they had sunk the other until one of Francis's officers met the captain of the Sagittario after the war and put the record straight.
His seven patrols ? which were initially aimed against the threat of invasion ? yielded only three ships sunk or disabled. However, two patrols were examples of early and somewhat primitive operations with the Secret Intelligence Service and the Special Operations Executive.
In August 1940, he successfully landed three British and Free French agents near Bordeaux.


In November, after immobilising a tanker and surviving a counter-attack, Talisman surfaced near the Ile de Groix and captured a sailing tunny fishing vessel, Le Clipper, deemed suitable for subsequent clandestine operations. Half the crew were embarked in Talisman while the rest, accompanied by SOE agents, were made to sail the boat to Falmouth.
At the end of the war he commanded the submarine base at Lisahally in Northern Ireland, managing the berthing and ships' companies of the 63 U-boats that surrendered there. At the end of the war he commanded the submarine base at Lisahally in Northern Ireland, managing the berthing and ships' companies of the 63 U-boats that surrendered there.
He was tremendously impressed with their discipline and impeccable conduct in the aftermath of enormous losses and their final defeat. In 1927 he was appointed to the battlecruiser Renown for the Duke and Duchess of York's visit to Australia to open the new Parliament at Canberra.
In 1927 he was appointed to the battlecruiser Renown for the Duke and Duchess of York's visit to Australia to open the new Parliament at Canberra.
Highlights were playing squash with HRH, shooting sheep in the Marquesas and stags in Mauritius.


Although the formidable Admiral Sir Howard Kelly gave the venture his blessing ? refreshing to note this spirit of adventure and initiative ? the Admiralty required the officers to take a year on half-pay. No yacht of similar size had yet attempted this northern route against the prevailing winds. Because they had chosen not to incorporate an engine in the design, they ran aground on Crooked Island in the Bahamas for 16 days, but reached Dartmouth in 1934 after a year at sea, receiving a congratulatory telegram from the King. In 1935 Francis became a founder member of the Royal Naval Sailing Association which still competes for a Tai Mo Shan Tankard today. He was highly active in local charities and national organisations connected with the welfare of seagoers.



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