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 Gerard Roope

Gerard Roope

Birth
Death 8 Apr 1940 (aged 35)
Burial Body lost at sea
Memorial ID 7678176 · View Source
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Victoria Cross Recipient. Born at Hillbrook Trull, Somerset, England, the son of Gerard and Florence Roope. During the second World War, he attained the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in the service of the Royal Navy, in July 1938 he was appointed command of a 'G' class destroyer, HMS Glowworm. He was reportedly a competent career naval officer, well respected by his men who called him 'Old Ardover' for his habit of altering course at a moment's notice. On April 8, 1940, the Glowworm engaged the enemy in the sea off Norway, Roope's actions were cited as follows: "HMS 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 HMS 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." Following the action, the Admiral Hipper picked up 31 survivors from the Glowworm. Roope was seen in the oil slicked water helping his men to the rescue ropes and life jackets before finally taking hold of a rope himself, but violent seas combined with exhaustion, and he was unable to hold on, he was swept away and drowned, his body lost. Admiral Hipper's commander, Captain Helmuth Heye, wrote to the British authorities via the Red Cross, recommending an award of the VC for Roope's courage while engaging a vastly superior warship, the only time in British history that a VC award was justified, in part, by a recommendation and supporting evidence provided by the enemy. Roope's was the first action of World War II resulting in the award of the VC. A memorial for Roope can be found in St. Petrox Church in Dartmouth.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Jul 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7678176
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gerard Roope (13 Mar 1905–8 Apr 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7678176, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost at sea.