b. 15/10/1905 Newport, Wales. d. 23/03/1943 Maddalena Harbour, Italy.
John Wallace “Tubby” Linton (1905-1943) was born in Newport in Monmouthshire on 15th October 1905 and he was the son of Edward Maples Linton and Margaret Gertrude Linton. His father was a local architect. “Tubby” was educated at the Royal Navy’s colleges at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, and Dartmouth, Devon. he joined the Royal Navy. After service in the Cruiser HMS Dauntless in the Mediterranean and then his Lieutenant’s Courses at Greenwich and Portsmouth he joined Submarines on 25th July 1927 when he was appointed to HMS Dolphin ‘for the Submarine Course’. He was appointed to the Submarine Tender HMS Ross (Experimental Half Flotilla) at Portsmouth ‘for Submarine L22 as 3rd Hand’ on 21st November 1927. A talented sportsman, he played rugby for the Royal Navy.
This was followed by an appointment to HMS Dolphin (5th Submarine Flotilla) ‘for Submarine HMS Oberon as 3rd Hand’ on 15th April 1928). He returned to the Submarine Tender HMS Ross and the Experimental Half Flotilla on 12th August 1929 ‘for Submarine H43 as First Lieutenant’. John Linton was sent to the Far East on 16th January 1932 when he was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Medway (4th Submarine Flotilla) at Hong Kong initially ‘for Submarines’ and then ‘for Submarine HMS Oswald as First Lieutenant’.
On his return home from the Far East John Linton was appointed to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Alecto (attached to the 5th Submarine Flotilla) at Portsmouth ‘for the Commanding Officers Qualifying Course’ on 31st December 1934.
On successful completion of the ‘Perisher’ he was appointed to HMS Dolphin (5th Submarine Flotilla ‘for Submarine L21 in Command’ on 3rd May 1935 and this was followed by ‘Submarine HMS Snapper in Command’ on 15th August 1935. He returned to General Service for his ‘Big Ship’ time in the Battle Ship HMS Iron Duke on 11th May 196. Two years later returned to the Far East on 15th October 1938 with an appointment to HMS Medway ‘for Submarine HMS Pandora in Command’. After the outbreak of WWII HMS Pandora was transferred to the Mediterranean and was based with the 8th Submarine Flotilla at Gibraltar. John Linton was awarded the DSC – see London Gazette dated 6th May 1941 for the sinking of two Italian supply ships.
He returned home on 1st August 1941 with an appointment to HMS Dolphin (5th Submarine Flotilla) ‘for Submarines’ and on 15th August 1941 ‘for Submarine HMS Turbulent – standing by whilst completing’ at the Vickers Armstrong Shipyard at Barrow in Furness ‘and in Command on Commissioning’. HMS Turbulent was completed on 2nd December 1941 and, after ‘Commissioning’ and ‘Work Up’ the Submarine was sent to the Mediterranean to join the 1st Submarine Flotilla based on HMS Medway – now based at Alexandria in Egypt. On 29th May 1942 John Linton was awarded the DSO – see London Gazette dated 15th September 1942 for the sinking of the Italian Destroyer Emanuele Pessagno on 29th May 1942.
On 23rd February 1943 HMS Turbulent sailed from Algiers for a patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Turbulent did not respond to any further messages and did not return when expected on 23rd March. It is thought that Turbulent fell victim to a mine off La Maddalena, Sardinia.
John Linton was awarded the Victoria Cross on 25th May 1943. Unusually the award was not for any one specific incident but for sustained effort. He had two sons by Nancy Pitts-Tucker, whom he had married at Lutterworth, Leicestershire, in 1928. The elder son, William, was a naval cadet at the time of his father’s death in action. William went to Buckingham Palace with his mother to receive his father’s VC from King George VI on 23rd February 1944. He subsequently joined the submarine service. He died, aged 21, in April 1951 when the submarine HMS Affray sank during a military exercise in the English Channel. He had been married for just one month.
On Saturday 6th of July 2013 a Blue Plaque was unveiled by the Submariners Association President, Admiral Sir James Perowne KBE, at St Joseph’s Convent in Newport Gwent. The building is the birthplace of Commander John Wallace (Tubby) Linton VC, DSO, DSC. Commander Linton’s Victoria Cross and his other medals are on display in the Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum in London. They were purchased privately by Michael Ashcroft in 1996.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON
BURIAL PLACE: PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL PANEL 72 COLUMN 3.
Thomas Stewart – Linton VC’s name on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.