Our current Lord Newborough’s father, Michael “Micky” Vaughan Wynne, was quite the character. But not many people know about his heroic and, rather absurd, military experience.
Many of you may have seen the new ‘Dunkirk’ movie. Well, after leaving the military in 1940, he volunteered as a civilian to play his part in the evacuation of the British troops and successfully completed five rescue missions in a yacht before being hit by shellfire. He returned in another fishing boat to try and round up enemy officers thought hiding in the sand dunes at Calais, though he found none. He was recognised for his abilities and was given a commission in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) in July 1941.
“Micky” Wynne also played a decisive part in the raid on St. Nazaire, commanding a MTB 74 which was armed with two delayed-action torpedoes to be fired at the dock caisson of the new German battleship, Tirpitz.
After successfully firing the torpedoes at their target, Micky Wynne was ordered to return back to England, not to stop to pick up survivors in the water on their way. He disobeyed this order and stopped his MTB to rescue those battling the current. This, he records, was ‘an awful decision’ on his part. By slowing the boat down to a halt, the German shore batteries found their mark and two shells went straight through them. A severely injured “Micky” Wynne was saved by the chief motor mechanic, Chief Petty Officer Lovegrove who lead him to join other survivors on a Carley float. When the Germans found them 12 hours later only three men were left out of 36.
That was when he found himself as a prisoner of war to the Germans at Marlag Nord POW camp. His captors, without the use of anaesthetic, amputated his severed finger and removed his damaged eye from its socket. Kindly enough, they gave him a German-made glass replacement.
After several escape attempts, he was transferred to the notorious and more secure, Colditz POW camp in 1943 due to being a nuisance, where he remained for two years and was repatriated on medical grounds in January 1945.
After learning 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, “Micky” Wynne returned to farming. He would often return to Germany to replace his glass-eye as he couldn’t find a superior design here in Britain.
Following his death in 1998, his ashes were blown from an 18th century cannon here at Rhug.