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Naval Obituaries A collection of notes on those who have crossed the bar.

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Old 11-03-2010, 23:38
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harry.gibbon harry.gibbon is offline
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Default Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

Ramming the Hipper

In 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 G.B.Roope, a Weymouth man.

The 8th April found HMS Glowworm off the Norwegian coast, detached from her duties as escort to the battleship HMS Renown, and searching for a seaman washed overboard. Two German destroyers appeared on the horizon and after a short engagement in which the Glowworm recorded at least one hit on the enemy, the Germans retired to the north drawing the British destroyer on to the big 8 inch guns of the heavy Cruiser Admiral Hipper.

The Captain of the Glowworm now had a dreadful choice to make. His normal duty would be to shadow the powerful enemy force to enable the Renown to intercept, but Roope knew there was little chance of remaining in contact with the Hipper in the weather conditions so he chose to challenge the enemy himself, to pit his torpedoes and 4.7 inch guns against the German's greatly superior firepower.

After reporting the enemy to Renown, he charged in, but all ten of his torpedoes missed and Glowworm received a direct hit from Hipper's 8 inch. One gun was put out of action but the destroyer still had a full head of steam and her Captain decided, to the amazement of the Germans, to ram the big cruiser. She hit at full force and embedded her bows solidly into the Hipper. The German Captain manoeuvred frantically to release his unwanted visitor and finally had to train all the guns that would bear to blast the destroyer from his side.

Glowworm drifted away and heeled to starboard. The ship was a shambles with few unwounded. Roope gave the order to abandon ship and shortly after Glowworm turned over. One survivor remembers his Captain, a keen cricketer, sitting on the keel of the upturned hull saying 'I don't suppose we shall play much cricket again."

The German cruiser spent over an hour trying to pick up survivors but only 31 out of a crew of 149 were rescued and this did not include her gallant Captain.

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 Hipper, which was carrying 2000 German Alpine troops to Norway had to turn back to Germany for extensive repairs which kept her out of action for much of the war.

Extracted from the site which includes photographs after the action as linked below:-

GFXU - HMS Falmouth in Falmouth Bay
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Old 12-03-2010, 00:38
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qprdave qprdave is offline
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Default Re: Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

A Great story of heroism. Every matelot who ever served in the R.N. should be proud to have served in a navy that brings out the heroes like those in this little ship

R.I.P. Glowwormers
Non illigitamus carborundum!
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Old 25-02-2011, 12:40
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Cool Re: Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

I am not a matelot, but I consider Lt Cdr G B Roope VC RN to have been an extraordinary man. As brave as a lion and a sangfroid that any Brit.worth his salt, would give his eye teeth for.In war we need such men-may his name live on in the hearts and memories, of those of us who hold such heroic qualities dear.

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Old 25-02-2011, 15:18
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barracuda barracuda is offline
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Default Re: Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

A very uplifting and yet tragic story. When at school many years ago we were told the story of the Glowworm by our teacher. I don't suppose it would be PC to do that nowadays and yet the relevance of the underdog taking on the mighty is as relevant today as it's always been. This website tells the story with original photographs and first hand accounts of the action by survivors...

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Old 01-03-2011, 11:20
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Unhappy Re: Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

An excellent tribute to a very brave sea captain,who was obviously made of the "right stuff".

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Old 11-08-2017, 20:07
culverin culverin is offline
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Default Re: Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

110 men were MPK (missing presumed killed) from Glowworm after her loss.
Another 7 are interred at Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery, Norway.

The CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) do not have any cemeteries in Norway, those interred are in civil cemeteries and Church yards, although Stavne is almost exclusively British servicemen from World War 2, all with the usual CWGC headstones and laid out as such.

These 7 all died in the days following the loss of Glowworm, and would have been landed in Norway from the Hipper after rescue, or died in Hipper.
So where were they buried originally and when was the subsequent re burial undertaken.

As with all head stones to remember an individual, there is no legal requirement for the grave to actually have a body.

Additionally to the 7 from Glowworm at Stavne, there are 3 from Gurkha sunk the following day and 1 from Bittern, sunk off Namsos on the 30th, all in April 1940.
It's grey. It's got guns. It's a battleship.
Regards and thanks. Sean.
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Old 19-08-2017, 02:19
Spoz Spoz is offline
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Default Re: Lt. Cdr. G.P. Roope VC - (who was recommended for award by the enemy)

Not taking anything away from Glowworm, and Roope who more than deserved the award and has always been a hero of mine (however unfashionable it may be to admit that these days), it's a pity that due to the foibles of the system as applied at the time to us colonials, the CO of HMAS Yarra (LCDR Rankin) didn't get one for an action in the Java Sea in 1942 which was in many ways very similar. He's got a submarine named after him; but he should have had a VC - posthumous naturally. Too late now of course.

Sorry, OT rant over!
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