Gerard Broadmead Roope [1905-1940]
Victoria CrossIn April 1940 the Germans invaded Norway and among the many naval actions during the campaign there was one with connections to Weymouth, a David and Goliath tale of heroism leading to the award of a posthumous Victoria Cross to the Commanding Officer of a small British destroyer, Lieutenant Commander Gerard Broadmead Roope, a Weymouth man. So impressed were the Germans with the conduct of the action of the tiny British destroyer that the German Admiral recommended her Captain for the VC, believed to be the only time such a decoration had been awarded on the recommendation of an enemy.

The citation in the London Gazette of 6th July 1945, gives the following details:- On 8th April, 1940, H.M.S. Glowworm was proceeding alone towards West Fjord, Norway, when she met and engaged two enemy destroyers, hitting at least one of them. The enemy broke off the action and headed north. Lieutenant-Commander Roope, though appreciating the intention of the enemy to lead him on to his supporting forces, gave chase. The German heavy cruiser, Admiral Hipper was sighted closing the Glowworm at high speed, and an enemy report was sent, which was received by H.M.S. Renown. Because of the heavy sea it was not possible for the Glowworm to shadow the enemy, and the Commanding Officer decided to attack. Ten torpedoes were fired without success; then the Glowworm, badly hit and her speed reduced, closed and rammed the Admiral Hipper. As she withdrew the Glowworm opened fire again, and scored one hit at 400 yards range. Badly stove in forward and riddled with enemy fire, the Glowworm heeled over, and the Commanding Officer gave the order to abandon her. Shortly afterwards she capsized and sank; only 31 out of her complement of 149 were saved. The Victoria Cross is bestowed upon Lieutenant Commander Roope in recognition of his great valour.

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