Woolley, Edward Dutton

Date of birth:
November 2nd, 1910 (Shepshed/Leicestershire, United Kingdom)
Date of death:
July 1984 (Cirencester district/Gloucestershire, United Kingdom)
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Edward Woolley reached the rank of Commander. He demined 30 German magnetic mines and one Italian explosive motorboat during the war.

Promotions:
7 July 1940: Probationary Temporary Sub-Lieutenant
7 November 1940: Temporary Electrical Lieutenant
June 1942: Temporary Acting Electrical Lieutenant Commander
?: Commander

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant
Unit:
Royal Navy
Awarded on:
January 14th, 1941
For gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty in removing a parachute mine from the grounds of Gillmore & Spencer, Rotherhythe on 17 October 1940.

"With the spanner on the keep ring, I tried to unscrew the fuze but it proved to be pretty tight. A little more pressure and it moved a fraction but, to my horror, a steady whirring noise indicated the clock had started. In that uncanny silence it sounded like an alarm clock going - which it certainly was anyway! To this day I canít quite remember the next 60 seconds - it seemed like 60 years. I remember wriggling backwards over the wet sacks, losing my tools and cap en route, and making for the loading hatch I had opened, counting the seconds all the time. My whole life seemed to flash before me. I donít think I panicked though. I got to the hatch, looked at the river with intense loathing and decided Iíd be no worse off to get blown in than ump ... 13 ... 14 ... 15 ... soon now ... 17 ... 18 ... perhaps the safety horn is alright ... but God, did I turn the pressure on? Damned if I remember ... 21 ... 22 ... have I been counting too quickly? 28 ... 29 ... 30. No, it must be alright. A few seconds to regain my composure and wipe my dripping forehead, and then back over the sacks again, very slowly, very quietly, but not a sound from the clock."
George Medal
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant
Unit:
Royal Navy
Awarded on:
June 16th, 1942
George Medal
For gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty.

--
ĎLieutenant Woolley was in charge of all operations concerned with dismantling and rendering safe an Italian one-man torpedo craft captured after an attack on Malta harbour. This craft was fitted with a complicated firing device, of a type hitherto unknown. Lieutenant Woolley had had no previous experience with this particular type of work and although knowing this, Acting Chief Motor Mechanic L. Hanlon readily volunteered to help him. Both were aware of the full gravity of the risk.
The charge proved to contain 500lb. of High Explosive and had a two-clock mechanism, each clock capable of initiating the explosion. Even now that the process is known, the extraction of these clocks with their attached detonators and primers would call for the utmost care and delicacy. Success in the operation put into our hands the means to plan defences against these new weapons.í
2nd award: bar

Sources