Exceptional Gallipoli operations and Zeebrugge Raid CB, DSC, Croix de Guerre group to Lieutenant Colonel B G Weller.

22nd December 2021

A World War 1 CB, DSC, Croix de Guerre group of 6 to Lieutenant Colonel Bernard George Weller R.M.L.I. is offered in our 17th February 2022 medal and militaria auction with an estimate of £15,000 to £20,000.

Bernard George Weller was born in Amersham 2/12/81, commissioned 2nd Lieut 1/9/00 and attended Royal Naval College, promoted Lieut 1/7/01, Capt 1/9/11, Maj 6/6/17, Bt Lt Col 23/4/18. Served with Plymouth Div 1/7/01, HMS Drake 15/1/03, Firequeen 18/8/04, Cambridge 26/9/04, Edgar 1/2/05, Gibraltar 3/5/05, Aboukir 16/6/05, Black Prince 17/3/06 (mentioned on his record as "Contributed toward the good results obtained by HMS Black Prince with 6" guns in annual test of Gunlayers 1907"), Majestic 30/6/08, Dido 22/9/08, Donegal 15/5/12, Eclipse 13/7/14 (employed on Channel Patrol), RM Brigade 9/5/15, present with at all actions in Gallipoli with Plymouth Bn 28/5/15 to 26/9/15 when he left (Commanded Bn 13-25 July), Sutlej 6/2/16, Plymouth Div 9/3/17, 4th R.M. Bn for Zeebrugge Feb -27 April 1918, Plymouth Div to end of the war, with 8th R.M. Bn in Ireland 14/8/21 to 13/2/22, to Half pay List 1/8/22 and Retired List 12/8/22.

London Gazette entries for his various awards as follows:

1. 28th January 1916 Mentioned in Dispatches by General Hamilton for Gallipoli operations.

2. 6th September 1916 DSC "In recognition of services with the Royal Naval Division in the Gallipoli Peninsula."

3. 21st May & 23rd July 1918 Promoted Brevet Lieut Col "Did valuable work in the training and preparation of material for the R.M. storming party. The Lieutenant Colonel and Second-in-Command of the party having been killed before landing, the command devolved on Major Weller, who directed the landing on the mole and the re-embarkation in a very gallant manner."

4-5. 23rd July 1918 CB and French Croix de Guerre in recognition of distinguished services during the operations against Zeebrugge on the night of 22nd-23rd April 1918.

The raid on Zeebrugge Harbour conducted on St George's Day included the landing of the 4th Royal Marine Bn (raised in secret just for this operation) on the mole direct from HMS Vindictive as a diversion and to engage and destroy the defences on the mole to allow the block ships to get into their position within the harbour. The purpose of the block ships was to stop the German U-Boats based in Bruges gaining access to the sea. The death of the CO and 2IC before the landing had been achieved meant that Weller became CO of the 4th Bn. The attacking force suffered over 200 casualties killed and many more wounded. The raiding force in total were awarded 8 VCs, 143 DSMs, 283 MIDs as well as other awards.

The 4th Royal Marine Battalion was collectively awarded the Victoria Cross, so a ballot was conducted to determine who the VC should be awarded to, after the Zeebrugge Raid. The ballot rules were not strictly adhered to and officers and mens votes were counted in the same ballot. Two VCs were awarded as a result of the ballot, to Sgt Finch with 91 votes and Capt Bamford with 64 votes. Major Weller was sixth overall in the ballot with 11 votes.

The full medal details are:

 The Most Honourable Order of the Bath Companion's neck badge (Military) (CB), Distinguished Service Cross (1916 hallmarks), 1914-15 Star trio with French MID Palme, French 1914-1918 Croix de Guerre with Palme to Lt Col B.G. Weller R.M.L.I. (Capt on Star, CB, DSC and C de G un-named as issued) very fine to extremely fine, swing mounted as worn (less CB), with matching set of swing mounted miniatures. All mounted on board with glass frame, board with silver plate engraved Lieut Colonel B.G. Weller C.B. D.S.C. Royal Marines.

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