1894 Sep 9.Born Kingston, Surrey
1901 census at Albury Road, Stoke next Guildford, Surrey
1907 May 15. Joined Royal Marines
Service Record (later)
1911 Apr. Passed out as a cadet at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
1915 Jan 30 Commissioned Sub Lt .
1916 Jun. Sub-Lieutenant David Wainwright reported killed on HMS Nomad (Jutland). In report of his "death", stated to be aged 21, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. George Wainwright, of 4, The Crescent, Surbiton. Later (12 June) reported as saved by and prisoner of the Germans. Other officers of Nomad made captive were Lieutenant Commander Paul Whitfield, Lieut. William J. Halliley and Surgeon Probationer David J. T. Oswald (RNVR).
ADM 1/8457/114 Loss of HMS NOMAD at Jutland
The Kipling Society published a letter that Wainwright is believed to have written about his action at Jutland
As you know, we came from Rosyth with the battle cruisers, and on the afternoon of May 31st were much excited intercepting “Fritz’s” Telefunken [i.e. wireless – ‘Telefunken’ was the German equivalent of ‘Marconi’; Ed.] I think we cleared for action about 2.15 p.m, and sighted Hipper’s battle cruisers about 2.30 p.m. The Germans opened fire first, and our battle cruisers followed. Not long after this the 13th Flotilla, to which we belonged, were ordered to attack the enemy battle cruisers with torpedoes, and we engaged a Hun flotilla that was simultaneously moving out to attack our battle cruisers.
Five very bright minutes followed, during which it was almost impossible to spot our fall of shot, but we saw one German destroyer which we were engaging start to settle by the bow. The first hit on us smashed a big hole in our upper deck, killed all the after torpedo tube’s crew, and also killed several engine-room ratings. Another hit came clean through the main steam pipe, causing a cloud of steam to rise like a thick fog, so that, from my position aft, I could see no part of the ship forward. The ship then gradually slowed down and finally stopped.
A few minutes after this we spotted the main German battle fleet coming up towards us from the southward. The Sub-Lieutenant and myself were for’ard on the foc’sle, preparing gear for being taken in tow on the off-chance of a ship turning up to tow us; the Captain was busy dumping overboard confidential books, and the rest of the ship’s company were going hard at the pumps and turning out the boats, etc.
We fired our last torpedo as the leading German ship came up, but owing to damage it stuck in the tube until a hit from one of the enemy, which had now opened on us strongly, caused the ship to lurch over and the torpedo rolled out. One of our ordinary seamen, seeing the track of this torpedo, shouted out, “Here comes a torpedo,” which didn’t help matters any. By this time salvoes were falling all around us, as a whole German battle squadron were apparently using us as a target for a practice firing., and the Nomad was rapidly being turned into something remarkably like a Gruyère cheese. We were about 2,000 yards, as far as I can remember, from the leading German battleship when we fired the last torpedo, and so we were at practically point-blank range for their 11-inch and 12-inch guns. The ship then started sinking by the stern with a great rattle from the loose gear tumbling about in her, and then gradually disappeared, but all the men were got clear just before she sank, and, after a short swim in the sea a life-saving apparatus in the shape of a German torpedo boat, so small that we could almost have taken it on with our fists, came up and picked us up out of the water. She was a single-funnel craft, with one pop-gun on the foc’sle, one torpedo tube mounted on rails, and her decks piled high with coal. However, one doesn’t look a gift-horse in the mouth, and in her we were taken back to Germany, and, as, you probably know, we were the ‘Kaiser’s guests’ there fore the next two and a half years!
While a POW he was evidently made commandant of his camp because of his exceptional personality
1916 Jul 30 Promoted Lt
Awarded Albert Medal
1919 May 21. He was awarded the Albert Medal for gallantry in saving life at sea in 1919:
The Times, Wednesday, May 21, 1919
LIEUTENANT DAVID WAINWRIGHT, R.N.- On
February 4, 1919, H.M.S. Penarth struck a mine
and immediately began to sink. Lieutenant David
Wainwright, taking command of the situation, at
once superintended the manning and lowering of
the starboard gig, and later the launching of the
Carley floats. Hearing there was a stoker injured in one
of the stokeholds, he called for volunteers to show
him the way, and at once made his way forward.
There was by now a heavy list on the ship, and it
was apparent she would not remain afloat much
longer, the upper deck of the starboard side being
already awash. Lieutenant Wainwright made his
way below unaided, and while he was in the stoke-
hold the ship struck a second mind abaft of him.
The forepart was blown off and sank, and he was
forced to wait till the stockhold had filled before
he could float to the surface up the escape. He
displayed the greatest gallantry and disregard
of his own personal safety in going below at a time
when the ship was liable to sink at any moment.
At the Court Martial into the loss of HMS Penarth, it came out that the line of mines on which the Penarth had been blown up had not been laid precisely in the position plotted on the chart. There was an error of 1 1/2 miles, which was fully confirmed when they were eventually swept up. The Cupar met a similar fate soon after her sister ship. Although taken in tow by a consort and actually moving towards the Tyne, she foundered on the way after a loss of several lives caused by the explosion. Ref: Swept Channels, Capt.Taprell Dorling.Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, 1935.
1920 Oct 20. Joined ADRIC with service no 809. Posted to M Coy
1920 Nov 15. GLO Shiner was accidentally shot and badly wounded at Kilkenny by C J Simons. Wainwright was there as Intelligence Officer of A Coy
1920 Dec 1 Promoted Platoon Commander. Intelligence Officer
1920 Dec 9 Raid that resulted in Ernie O'Malley's capture. As Intelligence Officer in A Coy he was on the raid and is mentioned by name on one of the reports. Ernie O'Malley was captured by British Auxiliaries in Inistioge, Co Kilkenny. He had been planning an assault on Woodstock House, but his capture was accidental. The British never found out how important he was, and he escaped eventually in Feb 1921 from a Dublin jail. O'Malley was only held one night in Woodstock House by the Auxiliaries before being sent on to Kilkenny jail the next day. During his brief stay at Woodstock, O'Malley writes that he was court-martialed and severely beaten. He was later told that in was only because Brigadier General Wood had intervened that he was not shot on the spot. O'Malley's article in "On another man's wound" does make it clear, but Wood appears to have been the head of the court-martial court. I would have to assume that he had been summoned from Dublin after O'Malley's capture - the British did not know who O'Malley was, but knew he was important. Wood had relinquished the position of Coy Commander of A Coy on 1 Dec. By the time of O'Malley's capture he was 2nd in command of the ADRIC based in Dublin
1921 Jan 1. Promoted DI.1 in Command to M Coy which only formed in December 1920
1921 Jun 19. Gave evidence at inquiry into death of IRA man
1922 Feb 9. Discharged on demobilisation of ADRIC
1922 Mar 24. Joined British Gendarmerie section of Palestine Police as a Captain
When their training was completed they sailed for Palestine and the Port of Haifa on 13th April 1922 .On arrival in Palestine their structure was changed to 6 companies numbered 1 to 6 with a Headquarters unit and the companies were posted out to different towns. In 1922 their rates of pay were quite generous for the times, but still only 50% of what they had been paid in Ireland. Platoon Commanders were paid 22 shillings per day & Platoon Officers such as David 20 shillings per day. Within days the men started patrolling and acclimatising themselves to the rigours of conditions in Palestine. They were supported by ample supplies of motor transport, Model T Fords being standard issue.
Douglas V Duff: “Bailing with a Teaspoon” & “Sword for Hire”. In the former there are various quotes: “David Wainwright smoothed things out in his inimitable fashion………Wainwright was already wise in local matters……….Wainwright evolved a plan…………..” And most intriguingly “David Wainwright insisted that we should do something spectacular to warrant our continued existence” Wainwright is also referred to in a series of articles in the Malayan Police Journal entitled “The British (Palestine) Gendarmerie” (appendix 7). His duties certainly involved a high degree of danger for both he & his men with operations directed against pirates, murderers & drug runners. The books describe an almost “wild west” atmosphere of suspicion, danger & action continuing the lifestyle that he’d left in Ireland.
1922 Jun 19 to 31 May 1924, as Captain Wainwright he was attached to the Dept. of Customs & Ports. Here, according to his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel JB Barrow – the Director of Customs & Ports - he “organised in a highly efficient manner the Ports & Customs Police” from its then “chaotic state”. In this role he was also in charge of the Syrian frontier for anti- contraband duties. It’s likely that David remained in a similar position to the above through to 30th April 1926 when the division was disbanded as part of the re- organisation of the Palestine civil forces
Wainwright was given the task of recruiting for the new Ports and Customs Section. He dispatched Sgt D V Duff (ex RIC ) and 2 constables to Haifa with written instruction to commandeer 2 launches for police use. Duff was also to integrate his men into the local port police in order to open up a wider way of policing the coast over a longer length. Duff was successful in enforcing the fishery laws, and Wainwright promoted Duff to Acting Inspector, and sent another Sergeant to beef up the operation. The British Section of the Port Police was disbanded on 30 Apr 1926, presumably when Wainwright resigned. Duff was then transferred to the regular police in Jerusalem.
1924 Apr 4. Whilst in Palestine he married Frances Whitefield, & their son David Bernard Wainwright was born in Palestine the following year.
1926 Apr 13. His contract with Palestine Gendarmerie was not renewed and he returned to UK where he was a regional salesman for a veterinary medicine producer.
1938 An Observer in Czechoslovakia in late 1938. In the wake of the 1938 Munich Conference, and according to a November 1938 letter from Lord Halifax "greatly helped to secure the peaceful transfer of the Sudetan areas"
1939 Mar 29 Died at Portland Dorset. A curious end to his life