Gerard Roope

Official photo of Roope, date unknown. Photo in the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

Born: 1905
Years of Service

Born in Taunton, England, 13 March, 1905, Gerard Broadmead Roope was the son of landed gentry. He was admitted to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth at age 13, and was commissioned as a midshipman aboard HMS Revenge in 1923. He married Faith Dulcibella during the interwar years, and they had two children, a son and a daughter. Roope served in the C-cass cruisers Concord and Caledon, and the Iron Duke-class dreadnought HMS Marlborough, before he received command of the G-class destroyer HMS Glowworm on 22 July, 1938. In April, 1940, Glowworm was assigned to the Norwegian Campaign, and Roope led his ship in operations there. On the 8th, they found two German destroyers, which ran North after Glowworm disabled one of them. Roope gave chase, fully aware that they were leading him towards German heavy units. Glowworm was then engaged by the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, which began to fire upon the destroyer. After sending a contact report to the British Admiralty, Roope engaged the cruiser. Glowworm's torpedoes missed, and Hipper's gunfire took its toll on the destroyer. Roope directed Glowworm to ram Hipper, which ripped a hole in the cruiser's hull and destroyed a torpedo mount. Glowworm capsized and sank, and Roope drowned in the rough sea before he could be rescued. Admiral Hipper's captain sent a message to the British through the Red Cross, recommending Roope for the Victoria Cross, which he was awarded posthumously.