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Recognition At Last For WW1 Victoria Cross Hero

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A paving stone will provide a permanent reminder of the bravery of a young second lieutenant awarded the Victoria Cross.

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He’s one of 18 heroes being commemorated in this way in West London.

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There was a ceremony to mark the unveiling of the tribute to Frank Bernard Wearne who was born in Fulham in 1894.

He was one of three brothers, only one of whom survived the First World War.

Memorial ceremony for 2nd Lt Frank Wearne VC

He was awarded his VC, Britian’s highest military honour, for actions during a raid on a German trench position known as “Nash Alley,” east of Loos, France.

As a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment, he was tasked to take a raiding party to attack, capture and hold a section of the German line, whilst taking prisoners for interrogation, destroying dugouts, and blowing up German tunnels.

“…..when matters were most critical, leapt on the parapet and, followed by his left section, ran along the top of the trench, firing and throwing bombs. This unexpected and daring manoeuvre threw the enemy off his guard and back in disorder.”

 

Ceremony at Kensington and Chelsea War Memorial

The official citation, published in the War Office London Gazette on 2nd August 1917, tells the story of his astonishing courage and dedication to duty:

For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a small party on the left of a raid on the enemy’s trenches.

He gained his objective in the face of: much opposition and by his magnificent example and daring was able to maintain this position for a considerable time, according to instructions.

During this period 2nd Lt. Wearne and his small party were repeatedly counter-attacked.

Grasping the fact that if the left flank was lost his men would have to give way, 2nd Lt. Wearne, at a moment when the enemy’s attack was being heavily pressed and when matters were most critical, leapt on the parapet and, followed by his left section, ran along the top of the trench, firing and throwing bombs.

This unexpected and daring manoeuvre threw the enemy off his guard and back in disorder.

Whilst on the top of the trench 2nd Lt. Wearne was severely wounded but refused to leave his men.

Afterwards he remained in the trench directing operations, consolidating his position, and encouraging all ranks.

Just before the order to withdraw was given, this gallant officer was again severely hit for the second time, and while being carried away was mortally wounded.

By, his tenacity in remaining at his post, though severely wounded, and his magnificent fighting spirit, he was enabled to hold on to the flank.

Bugler plays The Last Post

The Victoria Cross was presented to his father on 20 October 1917 by King George V himself at Buckingham Palace.

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