Admiral John Wilkes was the Commander of Landing Craft and Bases Europe (ComLanCrabEU) in 1943-44. This was the command that the Partridge operated under for most of its time in England. I have pasted a bit of information on him below. I have scant little information about his personality, however. If there is anyone out there that remembers serving under Wilkes, I’d very much like to hear more about him.
Vice Admiral John Wilkes, USN (Retired), (1895-1957)
John Wilkes was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 26 May 1895. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1912 and, upon graduation in June 1916, was commissioned in the rank of Ensign. For the next three years he served in the armored cruiser Frederick, a time that included World War I convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. In 1919 Lieutenant Wilkes received submarine training and, during the next decade, served in several submarines, having command of USS K-7 and USS S-47, and had shore duty as an Inspector of Machinery at Groton, Connecticut. In 1928-1930 Lieutenant Commander Wilkes was assigned to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, then began three years as Commanding Officer of the submarine V-1, which was renamed Barracuda in 1931.
During 1933-1935 Wilkes was attached to the Reserve Officers Training Unit at the University of California at Berkeley. He was Navigator of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis from mid-1935, receiving promotion to the rank of Commander during this time. Following a tour at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in June 1939 Wilkes took command of Submarine Division 15, in the Asiatic Fleet, and, from December 1939, also had command of Submarine Squadron 5.
For six months after the Pacific War began in December 1941, Wilkes, who was soon promoted to Captain, commanded Asiatic Fleet submarines during their frustrating struggle against the fast-moving tide of Japanese conquest. Following his return to the U.S. in mid-1942, he attended the Naval War College, then became Commanding Officer of the new light cruiser Birmingham, taking her to the Mediterranean Sea to participate in the July 1943 invasion of Sicily. Beginning in August 1943 Rear Admiral Wilkes had amphibious force commands in England and France, playing an important role in preparing for the June 1944 Normandy Invasion and the invasion of Southern France two months later. As the Allied ground offensive moved toward and into Germany, he was in charge of U.S. Ports and Bases in France, materially assisting the offensive with his management of logistics.
Rear Admiral Wilkes went to the Pacific in May 1945, again as an administrator of amphibious forces as they worked towards the planned invasion of Japan. A few months after World War II ended, he returned to the U.S. to command the Atlantic Fleet’s submarine force, a position he held from late December 1945 until March 1947. He then had duty with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington, D.C., before going to Europe to take command of Naval Forces, Germany, in August 1948. His final assignment was a brief tour as Commander Eastern Sea Frontier, beginning in March 1951. On the basis of a combat award Wilkes was advanced to the rank of Vice Admiral upon retirement in June 1951. Vice Admiral John Wilkes died at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, on 20 July 1957.