Michael Wynn, 7th Baron Newborough
Robert Charles Michael Vaughan Wynn, 7th Baron Newborough DSC
Distinguished Service Cross (United Kingdom)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the third level military decoration awarded to officers, and other ranks, of the British Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Merchant Navy and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.The DSC, which may be awarded posthumously, is...

 (24 April 1917 – 11 October 1998, Istanbul) was a British Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officer who played a decisive role during the St. Nazaire Raid
St. Nazaire Raid
The St Nazaire Raid or Operation Chariot was a successful British amphibious attack on the heavily defended Normandie dry dock at St Nazaire in German-occupied France during the Second World War. The operation was undertaken by the Royal Navy and British Commandos under the auspices of Combined...

 in 1942 where he commanded a motor torpedo boat
Motor Torpedo Boat
Motor Torpedo Boat was the name given to fast torpedo boats by the Royal Navy, and the Royal Canadian Navy.The capitalised term is generally used for the Royal Navy boats and abbreviated to "MTB"...

. Captured after his boat had to be abandoned, he was sent to Colditz
Oflag IV-C
Oflag IV-C, often referred to as Colditz Castle because of its location, was one of the most famous German Army prisoner-of-war camps for officers in World War II; Oflag is a shortening of Offizierslager, meaning "officers camp"...

 after an escape attempt. He was repatriated after feigning illness.

British Army

Born the eldest son of Sir Robert Vaughan Wynn, 6th Baron Newborough and Ruby Irene Severne, he was educated at Oundle School
Oundle School
Oundle School is a co-educational British public school located in the ancient market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire. The school has been maintained by the Worshipful Company of Grocers of the City of London since its foundation in 1556. Oundle has eight boys' houses, five girls' houses, a day...

. In 1935 Wynn was commissioned into the 9th Lancers, then joined the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards
5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards
The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1922 to 1992, when it was amalgmated into the Royal Dragoon Guards.-The beginning:...

 and the 16/5th Lancers. He was invalided out of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 in 1940. In May 1940, now a civilian, he was given command of a yacht acting as the Air Sea Rescue boat for the Naval air station at Lee-on-Solent. While British forces were being evacuated from northern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 he sailed to Dunkirk, and made five successful trips before being hit by shellfire just making Ramsgate
Ramsgate is a seaside town in the district of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque Ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main...

. Wynn then took command of a Norfolk fishing boat and went to beaches south of Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

 where it was thought the Guards were hiding in the sand dunes. Wearing naval uniform in case he was taken for a spy he searched for but never found the Guards. The Royal Navy recognising his abilities gave him a commission in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) in July 1941.

Royal Navy

Stationed at HMS Hornet, a Coastal Forces
Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy
Coastal Forces was a division of the Royal Navy established duringWorld War II under the command of Rear Admiral Coastal Forces. -History:The Royal Navy had previously operated flotillas of small torpedo- and depth-charge-armed craft during the First World WarThe first Headquarters was set up at ...

 shore base in Gosport
Gosport is a town, district and borough situated on the south coast of England, within the county of Hampshire. It has approximately 80,000 permanent residents with a further 5,000-10,000 during the summer months...

, he was involved with a plan to attack the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. The plan involved a motor torpedo boat specially modified during construction by Vosper Thornycroft, the MTB 74, which was specially built to house torpedo tubes on its foredeck instead of midships. The mission would be to fire the modified torpedoes over the anti-submarine net
Anti-submarine net
An anti-submarine net is a device placed across the mouth of a harbour or a strait for protection against submarines.-Examples of anti-submarine nets:*Lake Macquarie anti-submarine boom*Indicator net*Naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign...

 in Brest
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

 harbour where they would sink to the sea-bed and explode after a time delay. The weapons were nicknamed 'Wynn's weapons'. The MTB entered service in December 1941. However while this experiment was being trialled, the ships made a daring escape from Brest to the Baltic, nicknamed the "Channel Dash". Left without a mission, MTB 74 was instead re-tasked to the St. Nazaire raid where it was proposed she could torpedo the inner caisson of the Normandy Dock or a lockgate to the Submarine Basin. Further tests were carried out prior to the raid on St Nazaire and adjustments made to the delayed-action mechanism of the torpedoes which were fired by MTB 74.

St Nazaire

On 28 March 1942, Sub-Lieutenant Wynn was to play a decisive part in the raid on St. Nazaire, the only port on the Atlantic seaboard
Atlantic Seaboard
The Atlantic seaboard watershed is a watershed of North America along both*the Atlantic Canada coast south of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence Watershed &*the East Coast of the United States north of the watershed of the Okeechobee Waterway....

 in which the newly completed German battleship Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

could be docked. The plan, code-named Operation Chariot, entailed a former US Navy destroyer, , carrying 24 time-fused Amatol
Amatol is a highly explosive material made from a mixture of TNT and ammonium nitrate. Its name originates from the words ammonium and toluene...

 explosive charges, ramming the gates of St. Nazaire harbour. The ship was to also carry commandos who were tasked with destroying shore-based installations. The charges in Campbeltown would later explode and hopefully destroy the dock caisson. If this was not successful, MTB 74 commanded by Sub-Lieutenant Micky Wynn, was to be armed with two delayed-action torpedoes to be fired at the dock caisson. Also deployed to the raid were two destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s, a motor gun boat
Motor Gun Boat
Motor Gun Boat was a Royal Navy term for a small military vessel of the Second World War. They were physically similar to the Motor Torpedo Boats but equipped with a mix of guns instead of torpedoes. Their small size and high speed made them difficult targets for E-boats or torpedo bombers, but...

 and 16 motor launch
Motor Launch
A Motor Launch is a small military vessel in British navy service. It was designed for harbour defence and submarine chasing or for armed high speed air-sea rescue....


The Chariot force sailed from Falmouth
Falmouth, Cornwall
Falmouth is a town, civil parish and port on the River Fal on the south coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It has a total resident population of 21,635.Falmouth is the terminus of the A39, which begins some 200 miles away in Bath, Somerset....

 with MTB 74 towed by Campbeltown. The MTB was equipped with three Packard engines capable of almost 40 knots (74 km/h) and two Ford V8s which were designed for maneuvering at 6 knots (11.8 km/h). Too fast with one combination of engines and too slow with the other, the MTB was put onto tow until the convoy reached St. Nazaire. The ships crossed 400 miles (643.7 km) of open sea and were three miles (5 km) up the Loire estuary before the Germans opened fire. Campbeltown, which was flying the German ensign, immediately replied in German by Morse and Aldis lamp, and the enemy batteries held their fire, allowing Campbeltown to move closer to the docks. At 1.27am and closing on the gate, Campbeltown replaced the German flag and hauled up the British ensign. Under intense fire Campbeltown cut through the torpedo net and rammed the dock gates at 1.34. Wynn, who had been cast off from Campbeltown, was ordered to fire his two torpedoes at his secondary target, the gate at the old entrance. Wynn reported to Commander Ryder
Robert Edward Dudley Ryder
Robert Edward Dudley Ryder VC was a Royal Navy officer and a British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces...

 and was congratulated on his success with a swift drink from a flask.

Having picked up survivors from Campbeltown and an MTB, Wynn was ordered to return to England. He turned his craft and ran his full speed of 40 knots (74 km/h). Wynn spotted two men on a Carley float
Carley float
The Carley float was a form of invertible liferaft designed by American inventor Horace Carley . Supplied mainly to warships, it saw widespread use in a number of navies during peacetime and both World Wars until superseded by more modern rigid or inflatable designs...

 directly ahead of him. He had to make a snap decision, either to stop—which could be done quickly—or to drive on, which would have meant that the men would be washed off their float and probably drowned. He later recorded, "it was an awful decision . . . I decided to stop the vessel and we pulled up right alongside them. My crew had got hold of them, but unfortunately at that very moment the German shore batteries found their mark and two shells went straight through us." Wynn was blown from the bridge down to the bilges. He was saved by the chief motor mechanic, Chief Petty Officer
Chief Petty Officer
A chief petty officer is a senior non-commissioned officer in many navies and coast guards.-Canada:"Chief Petty Officer" refers to two ranks in the Canadian Navy...

 Lovegrove, who decided to search that area before jumping overboard. He held the severely injured Wynn and joined other survivors on a Carley float. When the Germans found them 12 hours later only three men were left out of 36.

That morning, whilst the Campbeltown was being inspected by Germans, five tonnes of explosive blew up rendering the dock completely useless until after the war. Two days later Wynn's two torpedoes exploded and destroyed the gates of the old entrance. Wynn now a Prisoner of War
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 and blinded in one eye, heard the explosion. Five Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

es were awarded for the raid with Wynn awarded the Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United Kingdom)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the third level military decoration awarded to officers, and other ranks, of the British Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Merchant Navy and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.The DSC, which may be awarded posthumously, is...



Wynn now sporting a glass eye
Ocular prosthesis
An ocular prosthesis or artificial eye replaces an absent natural eye following an enucleation, evisceration, or orbital exenteration. The prosthetic fits over an orbital implant and under the eyelids. Often referred to as a glass eye, the ocular prosthesis roughly takes the shape of a convex...

 courtesy of his captors was moved to Marlag Nord
Marlag und Milag Nord
Marlag und Milag Nord was a German Prisoner-of-war camp in Military District X, located near Westertimke, Germany.There were over 5,000 Allied Merchant seamen captured by the German forces during World War II...

 POW camp near Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

. After escaping he was sent to Colditz in January 1943 and was repatriated on medical grounds in January 1945. Hearing that Lovegrove was held in a German naval camp he volunteered to join the relieving force and met again with the man who had saved his life at St. Nazaire.

Post War

After the war he returned to farming, and in 1963 became High Sheriff of Merionethshire
High Sheriff of Merionethshire
This is a list of High Sheriffs of Merionethshire. The historic county of Merioneth was originally created in 1284. The administrative county of Merioneth was created from the historic county under the Local Government Act 1888. This was abolished in turn under the Local Government Act 1972 on...

. In 1965 he succeeded his father as Lord Newborough and inherited 20000 acres (80.9 km²) in North Wales. In 1971 to meet the increasing cost of taxation he was forced to sell Bardsey Island
Bardsey Island
Bardsey Island , the legendary "Island of 20,000 saints", lies off the Llŷn Peninsula in the Welsh county of Gwynedd. The Welsh name means "The Island in the Currents", although its English name refers to the "Island of the Bards", or possibly the island of the Viking chieftan, "Barda". It is ...

 to the Bardsey Island Trust.

In 1976 he was called before the magistrate
A magistrate is an officer of the state; in modern usage the term usually refers to a judge or prosecutor. This was not always the case; in ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest government officers and possessed both judicial and executive powers. Today, in common law systems, a...

s for allegedly firing a 9 lb (4.1 kg) cannon ball
Round shot
Round shot is a solid projectile without explosive charge, fired from a cannon. As the name implies, round shot is spherical; its diameter is slightly less than the bore of the gun it is fired from.Round shot was made in early times from dressed stone, but by the 17th century, from iron...

 across the Menai Strait
Menai Strait
The Menai Strait is a narrow stretch of shallow tidal water about long, which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.The strait is bridged in two places - the main A5 road is carried over the strait by Thomas Telford's elegant iron suspension bridge, the first of its kind,...

 from Fort Belan
Fort Belan
Fort Belan is a coastal fortress in North Wales. It is located opposite Abermenai Point, at the south-western end of the Menai Strait, on the coast of Gwynedd, in the parish of Llanwnda...

, which had been built by a relative. The shot went through the sail of a passing yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

 and he was charged with causing criminal damage. Even though it was his mother-in-law's birthday, he denied the charge, protesting that it must have been someone else. He was found guilty and fined. He died in Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

in 1998 and his ashes were shot out of an 18th-century cannon.
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